I think I should start off by explaining that although we are a Christian family, we are not allowed to celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday. We don’t have midnight mass or nativity scenes, but we do like the love and charity of the holiday spirit. There are a few challenges presented by my health, but we still manage to have lots of fun. Below are some tips that I have found to make the season a little easier.
Just Say No:
It goes against everything that you hear, but if you don’t have the time or energy to do something, then say so. Between friends’ parties, kids activities, family gatherings, and work celebrations, it can get really hectic. It’s no wonder that people are so stressed out this time of year. That kind of stress is harmful to anyone, but especially those of us in poor health. It’s just not worth it and your real friends should understand.
Save a Little Dough with a Little Dough:
Being ill is very expensive so most of us don’t have a ton of money to spend on gifts. I decided to just make cookies or other homemade treats for most of the adults on our list. A great way to save time and money is to make one base dough and then use add ins to flavor each batch differently. I will be sharing the recipe in an upcoming post. If you can buy the ingredients at a warehouse store like Costco then you could make these for pennies.
Release Your Inner Martha Stewart:
Cookies might not work for everyone since some people have special diets or food allergies. Try making some of your presents. There are plenty of tutorials on easy projects to make on a small budget. You can even convince the kids to make a few, Tom Sawyer style. Here are a couple of videos to get you started.
Find Out Ahead of Time If a Venue is Accessible:
I have gone places that I assumed were wheelchair friendly only to find a makeshift ramp/deathtrap or worse, a burly dude who offered to drag my wheelchair up the stairs with me in it. Some people feel okay with it, but I am just too paranoid about falling. It may seem a little embarrassing to ask detailed questions, but it is better than being turned away at the door. It’s not just ramps that you need to worry about. Doorways can be too small for a standard size wheelchair so take measurements and call to see if it will fit. If you are hosting a party and plan to have guests, you can usually rent temporary ramps from medical supply stores.
Cut Back on Decorating:
Trees can be beautiful, but they are time consuming. A freshly cut one is expensive and messy, plus it takes up so much room. You could hang a few of your favorite ornaments around the house and drape the garland around the doorway. If you can’t do without a tree, try a tabletop one and you can even recreate the scent with a few drops of pine essential oil.
Be Frugal, But Charitable:
I’m one of those people who doesn’t want gifts. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the thought. I just feel like it’s a children’s holiday and I don’t want someone to spend money on little old me. For those who insist, I ask for them to make donations to my favorite charity. It’s a special needs child/adult daycare and their clients are always in need. We like to donate money as well as hand out cookies and things I crocheted throughout the year. It really gets us in the Christmas spirit to see how happy it makes everyone. The next time you struggle to find something for the person who has everything, this might be the perfect solution.
A Feast Fit for a King…But Not for a Celiac:
Parties are full of food which can be disappointing for someone with dietary restrictions. If you are limited on what you can eat, don’t assume that there will be something available. Even well meaning hosts may think a dish is safe, but youh might need to worry about cross contamination. I simply pack my own snack. It might look weird, but at least I won’t get sick.