The holiday season can be difficult for everyone. It's no surprise that those of us with chronic illnesses may find the demands of shopping for gifts, spending large amounts of money, attending parties and family gatherings, and entertaining house guests stressful. There is good news, though. With a chronic illness, your holiday season can be great. Just take it easy on yourself, and follow these tips.
Gift Giving & Money Concerns
- Instead of using an entire day to marathon shop for gifts, pick up a few things each time you go out.
- Gift certificates are fantastic! There isn't one person that doesn't want a gift certificate to their favorite store.
- Shop online! You can have the gifts wrapped and delivered straight to the recipient, or wrapped and delivered to your house (or to whoever is hosting Christmas), ready to go under the tree.
- Pick a spending limit and stick to it.
- Do things that are free but still fun and in the holiday spirit. Check out your local city's Web site or newspaper for fun free activities like tree lightings, parades, etc.
- If you have a large family or group of friends, draw names so you do not have to buy a gift for each person.
- Instead of gift giving, have your family pick a charitable organization to donate to.
- Make gifts yourself, such as cookie mix in cute jars, packets of mulling spices, or hand warmers.
Household Chores & Decorating
- Buy an artificial tree, perhaps already lit. This is less work and better for the environment.
- If you have an artificial tree, put it away decorated this year. Next year comes sooner than you think!
- Host a tree trimming party, and have each guest bring an ornament and an hors d'oeuvre.
- If you must decorate outdoors, have someone else do it or put out a pre-lit decoration such as reindeer.
- If you must make cookies, buy the refrigerated kind and decorate them. The custom touch is appreciated, but not as hard and time consuming as making cookies from scratch.
- If it is your turn to host dinner, have your guests bring all of the side dishes. This leaves you with only one entree, and most people just love showing off their specialties!
- Order a pre-made dinner from your local gourmet store, restaurant, or deli. They are delicious and easy!!
- Cook foods ahead of time and freeze them. Also, frozen appetizers make a great quick snack for family members or friends who stop by.
- If you are going to a lot of parties, pick up hostess gifts in bulk. For example, a case of wine (most retailers will give you a discount if you buy more), bulk coffee, chocolate, or high quality nuts that you can put in cute packaging.
- For most people with a chronic illness, there is a time of day that they feel best. Try and travel during that time. So if you feel best when you wake up, then your travel time should take place mostly in the morning hours.
- If you are driving, take frequent breaks.
- Pack light. Send your gifts ahead of time, but make sure to allow extra time for them to arrive, as shipping times are longer during the holidays.
- Avoid traveling on peak days as they are the most busy and are more likely to have delays. Book flights on the days before and after Christmas and New Years.
- If you don't send your gifts ahead of time, make sure you do not wrap them, so security personnel can have access to them. Pack collapsible gift bags to wrap with upon arrival to your destination.