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It's holiday time! Member Topic for December 2017

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    It's holiday time! Member Topic for December 2017

    Your Member Topic for the Month of December is here!
    Thanks to all who participated in November's Member Topic of the Month

    It's a happy time of the year, but there can also be stress that comes with the holiday season.

    So let's talk about:

    The limited amount of stamina needed for holiday functions/gatherings.
    The feeling of being alone, even when in the midst of a gathering of people.
    The sensory overload that many experience around noisy gatherings, causing anxiety or panic feelings.
    Stress-free shopping, cooking, preparing.

    Please share your stories, your thoughts, suggestions and concerns on how you can (or have) overcome some of these difficulties to enjoy the season!

    Thank you all for your participation and stay tuned for more of your suggestions in the months to come! We appreciate all of your thoughtful ideas and hope to hear more from you! You can add more suggestions by clicking here:

    1st sx '89 Dx '99 w/RRMS - SP since 2010
    Administrator Message Boards/Moderator

    It's a bit late to start on my 'strategy' for an easier holiday season, but there is always next year, and hey, some of these can still be used.

    FIRST - make lists. What you have to do and what it is going to take to do it. Do you need anything from the store? Get it ahead of time so that when you start working you don't have to look for or actually stop what you are doing to get something that you need .

    For gifts I start shopping the day after christmas for them. While at one time I held bags in the the utmost contempt they are now some of my best friends . Shopping online is something else that I have adopted.

    Since the kids have grown up and moved out I have downsized my decorations and tree accordingly. I try to put out an elf for the grandchildren and my tree is a small 3 foot fiber optic tree that has the decorations already attached. I simply pull it out of the box and plug it up - IF I decide that I want a tree.

    Years ago I baked all manner of cakes and cookies. Now my DH and I are both diabetic so having all of those sweets around isn't a good thing. Every few years I will bake a batch of fruitcakes to give to family, but my days of marathon baking are over (SAM'S has a decent bakery ).

    My family gets together on Thanksgiving (actually the day after) and for Christmas (usually on Christmas eve) and since there are many people (up to 60) we rent a place to have it. While I hate hauling food this seems to work out well. Everyone pitches in for cleanup, and no one person is stuck with cleaning before and after the events .

    Everyone brings their signature dishes - or whatever my mother asks them to bring - so no one person has so much cooking to do. I always try to fix whatever I am bringing ahead of time and freeze it if possible. If that will not work then I do as much as I can the day before so that I am somewhat rested on the actual day of the get-togethers.

    I finally convinced mother that 'finger foods' were enough for the christmas gathering, so I usually pick up some chicken wings and bring a cake. If I am feeling really energetic I will make chicken salad and pick up some crackers to go with it (yeah SAM'S sells chicken salad but mine is SO much better ).

    While it can get noisy, too hot and overwhelming I can (and do) always step outside for a bit. It is a small adjustment that everyone accepts and actually several people will normally follow me outside. Some to check on me, others to have a more personal time to talk.

    This is suppose to be a season of enjoying time with loved ones, so instead of stressing about the perfect wine for the perfect meal just enjoy those you are with! Remember that you do not have to attend every party, and that you DO have to schedule in time to take care of yourself!

    Wishing everyone a happy holiday season .


      The amount of stamina needed for holiday functions/gatherings.
      • For me, busy-ness creates stress, even if the busy-ness is fun. I used to love lots of activities and a full schedule, and I still wish that could be my life. But, it just can't.
        • I have learned that I need to limit what I do, before I become tired. And, I need to say no to others when I'm asked to do too much. And, say no to myself, even when I don't want to. I might have to choose just one out of 2 or more fun activities or events that I have interest in.
        • If I become tired, there is little "gap" between tired and absolute exhaustion. I need to stop right away.
          • One thing I read that used to work for me is: If you are tired, stop and sit down for 5 minutes. If you are still tired after 5 minutes, you're done -- you need to stop. I no longer even follow that. If I'm tired, I "know" that I will still be tired after 5 minutes. When I'm tired, I stop.

      Stress-free shopping, cooking, preparing.
      • I do quite a bit of shopping online. I lean on hubby to help a lot in decision making and shopping for loved one (kids, grandkids, parents, etc).
      • I do as little extra cooking and baking as possible. I purchase my Christmas cookies and goodies from a local bakery. I buy lots of my groceries from Schwan's because preparation is often easier. Etc.
      • I don't help very much when I'm at my in-laws. She is also unable to help much, due to age and Parkinson's. Unfortunately, that means the work often falls on sisters-in-law. Thankfully, they are understanding. This year, we are getting together on December 23, so everything is still open. We will likely go out to eat our Christmas meal and get together at in-law's home for gift opening later.
      ~ Faith
      MSWorld Volunteer -- Moderator since JUN2012
      (now a Mimibug)

      Symptoms began in JAN02
      - Dx with RRMS in OCT03, following 21 months of limbo, ruling out lots of other dx, and some "probable stroke" and "probable CNS" dx for awhile.
      - In 2008, I was back in limbo briefly, then re-dx w/ MS: JUL08

      - Betaseron NOV03-AUG08; Copaxone20 SEPT08-APR15; Copaxone40 APR15-present
      - Began receiving SSDI / LTD NOV08. Not employed. I volunteer in my church and community.


        Bah Humbug

        It's December 8th and I'm already tired (who am I kidding, I'm always tired).

        I do all the cooking and baking but this year because of Severe Gastroparesis I don't get too eat anything. I find it extremely frustrating watching everyone scarf down food while I sit sipping my liquid nutritional supplement. Thanksgiving was exhausting and I was too tired to try to make anything different, I expect the same for Christmas.

        I'm also avoiding the in-law holiday party. Too many people, too much noise and no food I can eat and a lot of explaining I don't want to do.



          I have decided to look at holidays the way the are meant to be, and feel blessed to be able to spend it with family. I am allowing myself to see my tree, my home, food, even my safety and well-being as a gift, because it is. Most of the the things that we (have) to do are choices and blessings, and I'm choosing to do as much or as little as I need to so that I keep my sense of gratitude.

          This has been an interesting year for my family, with lot's of challenges, but I'm still here!

          Some pactical things I'm doing include: Online shopping, buying pre-made food (not all of course) simple decorations, asking guest to bring a dish to share. The most important thing for me, is to keep the main thing, the main thing, and to realize that everything is is optional.

          I'm still navigating through my MS symptoms, which include fatigue, spasms, spasticity, etc. I really try to catch myself feeling good and celebrate it!

          I wish everyone a Merry Christmas! I am also praying for continued health, recovery,
          hope, faith, strength and awareness of our situation (for me) Life is hard! I don't want to miss when I fall in the soft places.

          I love you guys!


            • Amazon is my friend!
            • Simple decorations.
            • Do traditional and eagerly anticipated (by my raised sons) cookies.
            • Let everyone help. (A much needed side effect to my MS. I DON'T need to do everything, and honestly I never did, just thought I did.)
            • If it gets done, great. If not, great!
            • Let my husband wrap because I never was very good at it, and now I just plain stink .
            Last edited by Mamabug; 12-16-2017, 11:15 AM. Reason: Put post in a "list", because it appeared to be what 4boysmom intended. Made it easier to read.
            Adversity gives you two choices in life: either let it make you bitter, or let it make you better! I choose the latter.


              I want to take the time to wish all of you a wonderful holiday time. Last day of Hannukah, Winter Solstice, Christmas and a New Year! Plenty to celebrate!

              Our holiday celebration preparations have gone fairly smoothly with early shopping online, having others bring dishes to the table and making holiday treats ahead of time (to freeze) and letting go of what doesn't work out. I don't have enough energy to get worked up about that.

              Try to focus on what brings us all together and count blessings. Take the time to cherish and love the people surrounding you and find compassion for those who are less fortunate.
              1st sx '89 Dx '99 w/RRMS - SP since 2010
              Administrator Message Boards/Moderator