Multiple Sclerosis: 5 Ways to Survive Thanksgiving Hosting, 5 Reasons Not To

Mandy Crest Health Guide
  • We’ve turned the calendar page to November, we’ve set the clocks back an hour, and the holiday season is officially in full swing.

    Thanksgiving is a day to gather with family and friends and to celebrate our blessings. For many women, this meal involves days of preparation and additional responsibilities. For women who live with multiple sclerosis, the Thanksgiving holiday can be overwhelming and exhausting.

    Early planning for Thanksgiving can be the difference between a warm family gathering and a physical and emotional battering.

    5 Tips for Surviving Thanksgiving Hostess Duties

    1) Keep your expectations reasonable. You don’t have to compete with Martha Stewart to pull one off for the memory books!

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    2) Prepare as many side dishes as possible in the days before Thanksgiving. Spread the workload so that you are not overwhelmed on the big day.

    3) Acknowledge your MS symptoms and accept offers of help. In fact, actively seek help. Remember that other people are not necessarily aware of your symptoms and may be too distracted to notice.

    4) Before company arrives, try to squeeze in a nap, or at least a half hour to put your feet up and rest.

    5) Don’t be a hero. When cleanup time arrives, get the whole gang involved.

    5 Reasons to Relinquish Thanksgiving Hostess Duties

    1) As a guest for Thanksgiving, you can offer to bring one dish that you’ve prepared at your leisure. Too tired for even that? Bring a nice bottle of wine, a box of chocolates, or seasonal flowers.

    2) A substantial decrease in stress and physical exertion.

    3) When dining elsewhere, you are free to take a nap or at least put your feet up and rest before arriving.

    4) More opportunity to enjoy the company of your loved ones.

    5) You are free to make your exit at your own convenience.

    Thanksgiving is about breaking bread with loved ones, and the memories we all take with us.


    What won’t be remembered is whether or not the furniture was dusty or if the floor was shiny. No one will care if there are clothes piled up in the laundry room. No one will think less of you if there is one fewer side dish on the table. You will not be ostracized because you need to take a break. (If you are, that’s a topic for an entirely different discussion!)

    We who live with a chronic disease need to be vigilant about keeping our perspective. We can not let multiple sclerosis overshadow the truly important details of the holiday.

    The best moments will come when we least expect them. They will be in the smiles; the laughs; and, yes, in the mishaps.  So take a deep breath, remember what matters most, and keep the camera handy!

Published On: November 11, 2008