“Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la, la la la la”
Is it? Do you feel jolly or do you feel exhausted, stressed?
Do you feel overwhelmed by your chronic illness, which refuses to understand Christmas is fast approaching, and you really could do with feeling healthy for the festive season?
We can dream can’t we of halcyon days, but the reality is our chronic diseases are generally here to stay. So we need to find new ways to live well during a holly, jolly Christmas time.
Softly and Gently
My chronic disease places many physical restrictions on me, never more so than after my recent disease progression event. As a result it has removed many simple joys from Christmas pasts. I can no longer bake my Christmas cake and pudding. It was always the baking process I enjoyed and the smell of it cooking. Ooh…not to mention decorating it with marzipan and royal icing.
I can no longer bake a full Christmas dinner, although my hubby can and he’s a great cook but he’sso exhausted from the increased care I need, we will be working out an easy menu this year. I do miss stuffing the turkey and working out the timing to put on the roast vegies etc. So much fun…..when you get it right!
My list could go on as I think about the simple traditions of old I used to enjoy in my home.
Whatever I do now needs to be done in a way that’s “softly and gently”.
So new traditions need to be formed.Traditions which will conjure up the Christmas spirit. Traditions which will make Christmas, my new Christmas, full of “Comfort and Joy.”
Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.Luke 2:10-11New King James Version (NKJV)
Comfort And Joy
When I think of Christmas at home, I think of being nestled and surrounded by the people and the things I love. Being completely housebound due to my disease, means my new Christmas traditions need to be focused totally in the home. I love my home so we are off to a good start.
I love creating spaces of comfort and joy, all year round, where I can read, write, listen to music.
Now all I have to do is make those spaces feel like Christmas in some way. It’s all pretty basic really so when all the pieces of my new Christmas traditions come together, I will have created a sense of comfort and joy and sing with meaning, ” Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la, la la la la”
So what are my “Comfort and Joy ” traditions? I’d love to share them with you. Remember though, this is what I enjoy. You can create your own “Comfort and Joy” traditions which reflect your loves and lifestyle.
Hopefully my ideas will just give you a starting point and get your brain thinking about how to make Christmas a jolly season in your home.
These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things
It all starts with a Christmas Tree.
Now I have no capability of putting my tree up anymore but I’m blessed my husband can. I’m a great artistic director though! If you can’t put a tree up, decorate an indoor plant or perhaps buy a pre decorated small table tree. It’s all about creating an atmosphere which makes you smile
Deck The Halls.
I love having ornaments and special Christmas books adorning my home. It means everywhere I go in my house, I get that sense of ” It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”. It’s also something I can physically do as I potter around with my walker. Arranging them brings me great joy.
Creating Special Daily Moments.
One of the things I have always loved is the lead up to Christmas. Two years ago I decided to buy a new Advent Calendar last year. It’s made of wood and I fill each little box with a Christmas surprise. My husband and I take turns opening the days box each morning from the 1st December through to Christmas Day. It’s a bit of fun and sets the season aside from any usual day. I place it in our bedroom, so I wake up to something special which brings me the feelings of comfort and joy.
Having a special place to sit and relax, is really important when living with chronic illness. An armchair next to a table for books, a cup of tea and a special Christmas ornament, brings me a great deal of comfort and joy. Add in some Christmas music and the scene is set for embracing “tis the season to be jolly”.
The Joy Of Special Gifts
The Christmas before last, my Aunty sent us the most delightful book. She sent it early and told us to open it straight away. We soon discovered why, as it’s full of wonderful Christmas stories and traditions.
It’s written by Songs of Praise presenter, Pam Rhodes. My husband and I love reading together so, every morning during December, we read a chapter of this beautiful book.
It makes us laugh, cry and reminisce, as many of the stories rekindle memories of our bygone Christmas traditions.
Last Christmas I was contemplating special gifts and blogging on the topic, when my husband walked in from the post office with a big Christmas box.“Guess who this is from?”, he asked with a huge smile on his face!
I had no idea so I had to try and elevate myself off the chair, where I’d been happily writing and resting my broken bones, to unravel the mystery.
I finally made it to the kitchen, crutches in hand, to discover the beautiful box was from my gorgeous step daughter and family.
How exciting! I just had to know if we were allowed to open it or if it was to be kept for Christmas Day.
A quick text and an equally quick reply, told us it was an Advent gift and we were to open it.Now here was a definite comfort and joy moment. Family, love and early Christmas presents!
The gift was gorgeous. A glorious Christmas village scene, made of wood, which lights up and brought us so much joy throughout last year’s holly, jolly season. We can’t wait to put it out again this year!
We were spoiled again this year with an “early” and unexpected gift from our beautiful family. As I have only just come home from a long hospital stay and am still in need of acute care, we decided as a family not to give Christmas gifts this year. So when we received a knock on the door from the postman, who had a large box in his arms, we began to wonder what was going on.
Inside were some beautiful gifts including an exquisite elf and a beautiful tea advent calendar. Then we saw the note written on the inside of the box , “these are definitely not Christmas gifts”. Very funny and just adorable. It’s moments like these when Christmas is just so special.
Tis Not Always The Season To Be Jolly
Christmas is not always a jolly season for people, for many reasons. It can often be a Blue Christmas, rather than one filled with red, green and gold.
It doesn’t have to be lavish though to be special and it doesn’t have to be happy and jolly every moment.
My days are full of severe pain and many moments are too distressing physically to possibly be jolly.
This year will be particularly difficult as it’s the first Christmas since my Dad passed away. My love of Christmas comes from my Dad. He made every Christmas magical, exciting and full of joy. Growing up it was like living with Santa Claus and I’m not exaggerating. I miss him so much but I know he would want me to continue to celebrate every moment of this wonderful time of the year. I will be doing my best to do so to honour his memory.
The Christmas atmosphere I’ve created in my home, and the simple traditions I can embrace despite my health issues and my grief, these will bring me comfort.
Sitting in my chair looking at the lights twinkling on the Christmas Tree, or reading a chapter from a Christmas book with my husband, this will bring me great joy.
Whatever your circumstances, if you can find something special this Christmas and create a new tradition, which is right for you, I’d encourage you to do it.
Chronic Illness is hard enough every day. At this time of the year a festive distraction could just be what the Doctor ordered.
I hope and pray your lead up to Christmas can be filled with moments of comfort and joy.
If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding and friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic and complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.
If you prefer an audible blog post, please check out my Podcast, Medical Musings With Sam
I’m a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page
If you would like to read a little more about my journey, here’s the link to My Story