A Chronic Christmas Celebration….(A Few Tips to Create Your Own Unique Festive Holiday Traditions)

Looks like my husband and I made it on Santa’s “good list”. Santa even did an early drop off with personalised Santa sacks on the 23rd December!
We are however not allowed to peek inside until Christmas morning. It even says so on Santa’s sack! 😇😏🥰🎅

(yes, I am connecting with my inner child for a moment!)

It’s only 2 sleeps until Christmas. I have been running an Advent Calendar countdown, 24 days of Gratitude or Kindness, on my Facebook group, Medical Musings with Friends. The idea is each day in the lead up to Christmas Day, we share something we are either grateful for, or an act of kindness we have received. I can’t believe tomorrow is the last day. It’s has gone so fast.

Christmas Can Be Hard

We often talk about how hard Christmas is when we are alone, or perhaps just two of you at home, perhaps a love one has passed recently and the grief is raw, add in extreme pain, a new diagnosis, symptoms that prevent you from enjoying food, the list goes on.

I so understand. Most of the above applies to me.

Christmas can be too hard. It causes some people to simply turn their back on the season. A season they would otherwise love and embrace, with the joy of a child discovering Santa for the first time.

If you do love Christmas deep down but your disease, loneliness or grief is snatching your joy from you, how can you find a way to enjoy celebrating again?

Sometimes you just have to dig deep for the inner child and have some fun. It doesn’t have to be how you would normally celebrate, it can be recreated, uniquely yours to design and own.

I had a friend come over for our annual Christmas morning tea. I so enjoy our catchup. My body was screaming all through the visit but I just focused on the conversation and enjoyed her company, knowing my bed awaited to help me recover a little after. I could have postponed but I knew her visit would bring us both joy and the effort would be worth it. Some traditions are worth holding onto while you can.

My husband and I now have nothing planned from Christmas Eve through to New Year, apart from a possible video call and definitely lots of texts and phone calls, from family and friends which we love.

My bone disease continues to progress and my recent routine blood tests by my Hematologist, to check on my anemia, revealed a paraprotein which is pointing to a Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma diagnosis. I have more tests early January to confirm. So life is a little unsettled.

We could sit and wallow in the uncertainty or we can make the most of the joy of Christmas, the true meaning of it and enjoy the tree, the lights, the carols, online church services, decorations, presents etc.

We’ve chosen joy but we need to be joyful differently. We need to come up with ways to make our usual, essential disabled daily routine, be injected with unusual fun activities.

So, we decided yesterday, once I’d rested a little after my friends visit, to have a bit of fun. Our presents for each other were wrapped and we remembered, a few years ago, I’d ordered some personalised Santa sacks! Putting our presents in the sacks and under the tree brought a little Christmas joy to our afternoon. It was fun and it ignited childhood memories which we shared over a cuppa and Christmas shortbread for me, mince pie for my husband.

If you’re feeling exhausted and you don’t want to even think about Christmas, I get it. But if Christmas is important to you and you feel sad for what you’re missing, maybe you can think of something really simple to do, like perhaps making a nice cuppa in your favourite Christmas mug and watching a Christmas movie.

It might be enough just to help you relax and feel a little connected to a season you really do enjoy under better circumstances.

Please remember my Medical Musings with Friends support group, will be here for you throughout the Christmas period with our “Company For Christmas” segments. Lots of fun and games to enjoy with others who are also having a chronic illness Christmas.

My admin team and I are looking forward to sharing Christmas together, especially with those of you doing it tough this year. You will not be alone and even more than that, we hope you will feel at home with friends who truly care and understand ❤️

Another Chronic Illness Tip Idea

If you are “Home Alone” or having a “Christmas for Two”, my husband and I came up with a new idea to enjoy a manageable Christmas this year.

I have been struggling to eat much over recent months as I’ve been having stoma issues. I love Christmas food but I have to be so careful not to end up in hospital with a full bowel obstruction.

So, we decided in the same way we have to pace decorating the house, we can apply the pacing approach to our Christmas menu.

Introducing our “Progessive Christmas Meal” Idea…..

A progressive meal is one where you move from one venue, or home, to another for different courses. Starter, Entreè, Main and Dessert, followed by coffee or tea.

So we are adapting the Progessive Dinner idea and spreading our food festivities from Friday 23/12 until Boxing Day.

The 23/12 is our “Starter” course. A special treat we haven’t had for years….pork pie!

Christmas Eve will be the Entreè. I’ll be putting together a festive Ploughman’s lunch.

Christmas Day will be the main course. We have bought a prepared Chicken Kyiv which can be easily cooked in the oven with roast vegetables and a few extra Christmas trimmings.

Boxing Day will be the dessert course. Plum pudding for Peter, Chocolate Pudding for me with brandy custard and icecream. We will also enjoy savoury leftovers from the previous days.

Each day will have a treat this way and hopfully my stomach will cope much better than trying to be “normal” with a full Christmas Day meal.

It’s a very different approach, but well worth trying so we can enjoy Christmas in a way that accommodates my chronic illness needs.

Sometimes taking time to think outside the box can make a huge difference to enjoying something you felt was out of your reach.

I truly hope I have encouraged you not to give up on Christmas if it’s important to you. I hope I’ve encouraged you to think of ways to do things differently, in a way that uniquely meets your needs, while injecting meaning and fun into your Christmas. There is no right or wrong with this. Do what works for you and above all else focus on the real meaning of Christmas. The simplicity of a baby being born in a stable, surrounded by the uncertainty of being thrust into a world of upheaval and cruelty. Despite it all this baby would grow to show us how to live with grace, kindness and love towards others.

Christmas is well worth celebrating no matter our current circumstances.

Happy Christmas and much love

Sam xx

Medical Musings with Friends

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.

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7 thoughts on “A Chronic Christmas Celebration….(A Few Tips to Create Your Own Unique Festive Holiday Traditions)

  1. Love you. Love Joy Hope. Happy Christmas.
    Balance with a Chronic condition. What a Christian Ministry God has given. I love the reason for the season. Jesus. Softly and quietly,. Samantha, He loves you from head to toe. I ask Our Father Almighty “Why Lord? A beautiful voice in Yanchep⛪️🎶❤️❤️😇🤶.
    Thanks for🙏🏼 Glory to God, I’m nearly home again. Many thanks, Les😇🙏🏼🎶⛪️🤶

    Liked by 1 person

  2. All great tips Sam. Sheryl and I decided to stop purchasing each other presents. Instead we enjoy good music, a visit by the children and a meal out at one of their choices of place. For years we went to a Japanese restaurant, where the chef tosses the food around while preparing it and makes a volcano or beating heart out of the rice. These year we are off to a boutique pizza place. I get Italian mussels. Now that is Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Aw those Santa sacks are so cool! You have beautiful Christmas decor and it’s exciting seeing all the prettiness and presents under the tree. I must admit I do miss opening surprise presents but I still love buying gifts for others like my parents. You’re absolutely right with how fast the time has gone. I can’t believe we’re nearly at the end of the year and it’s actually quite disconcerting!

    You’ve written about the potential issues and difficulties with Christmas. I’ve struggled with the festive season for different reasons but if you can make a new tradition, a new way of treating the holidays, then it can be a little bit easier. It’s not always easily, especially if those around you aren’t accommodating. That’s what I find a bit difficult and I’d rather not have the big Christmas meal mid-day because of pain and stoma problems but never mind. Let’s hope both of us avoid A&E and our stomas are happy (ish)! I’m glad you got to see your friend for morning tea, despite the agony. I’m sure she appreciated seeing you as much as you appreciated seeing her, so it’s a win win (but I bet getting into bed after was heavenly!)

    I’m so sorry you’re having to wait until the New Year for further tests. I’m hoping with everything I have that the speculative diagnosis isn’t correct. Even if it is, you will deal with it just like you have everything else, even though you shouldn’t have to. Hopefully you can put it out of your mind just enough to enjoy the small pleasures over the next few days.

    Wishing you and Peter, and your families, a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and all the very best for a happy New Year 🎄

    Caz xxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you survived Christmas day Caz and avoided ER. Thank you as always for your thoughtful and encouraging comment. I so appreciate your friendship. Nearly time to say “Happy New Year”! I’m looking forward to journeying through 2023 with you as we continue to blog and advocate for others xx


  4. Hey, Sam – I left a comment here a couple of weeks ago, on this post, and it seems to have disappeared! I chose your blog as my Blog of the Month in my blog’s monthly newsletter – it went out on January 2. Not sure what happened to my comment, but I wanted to let you know.

    Live with ME/CFS

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Sue. I’m so sorry your first comment didn’t work. It’s frustrating isn’t when that happens. Thankfully I got this one and I so appreciate you choosing me as Blog of the Month. What a beautiful surprise 🥰


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