What is the best gift you can give yourself this holiday season? Try the gift of simplicity. Long ago I would transform my home decor from one holiday to the next. Each room went through a complete transformation. This included the kitchen and bathrooms. I am pretty sure the laundry room was the only one that was untouched. As my pain continued to increase I was faced with a choice. Continue to spend all my energy and strength on decorating or scale back to allow myself the opportunity to enjoy the holiday. This was a difficult decision for me to make as we lived in Phoenix, AZ where twinkling lights and decorations were the only signs of winter. It has been easier for me to simplify since moving to southern California. I know our weather is the envy of most states, but we are cooler than Phoenix and I can see snow capped mountains from my front door. Just seeing snow from afar is enough for me to feel like it is really winter.
During the past four years I have learned that decorating with less doesn’t mean that my house will lack Christmas cheer. I have found ways to make my house look full without over decorating. I am pleased that this year I have only put out our tree and 16 other decorative items, yet it looks like so much more because of what I chose and where I put it. I had to get over the emotional attachment that I had with many of my decorations. Instead I have learned to tackle decorating with a practical mind. I always ask myself, how long will it take to put up, will it require extra cleaning, and how easy will it be to put away? If the answer to any of those questions show that they are just going to create extra work, then that item stays in its box.
I have also learned to not get hung up on family traditions. I used to love baking cookies. Some years it happens, some it doesn’t. I have learned to that it is okay to not do everything I used to or that I think I should be doing. Some years I send Christmas cards to everyone I know, some just a few, and then there are the years that I don’t send any at all.
The only thing that I require from myself during the Christmas season is to enjoy every moment I can with family and friends.
Before you drive yourself crazy trying to do everything that your body did before think whether it is worth it or not. Worried about disappointing a family member? Try recruiting them to take over the task. I may not be up for baking, but teaching my daughter how to make her favorite cookie allows her to enjoy it and it provides me with the special memory of teaching her.
Remember that Christmas is not about how many cookies you bake or about how many decorations are up. Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus. Nothing more nothing less.
My Christmas wish for my chronically ill friends is that your pain is less and that your heart if filled with joy.