Every year about this time, I strive to balance the pervasive holiday cheerful frenzy with the reality of a chronic illness. Our family manages to pull off a lot of Christmas traditions despite my TILT; we have a tree, ornaments, some home decorations, gift giving and receiving. I help with the Christmas parties in my kids’ classrooms because if I am involved in the planning I can ensure that I can participate. If there is a social event that occurs outside, which still happens in December in Florida, we try to attend. We minimize my exposure by shopping online and using our outgassing system on all new times brought into the house. But somehow the little things add up. The extra social events and errand running creep up on me until all of a sudden my toxic load is too much and chronic symptoms emerge rather than reactive ones.
It’s only Dec 19 and I am tired. We have weeks still to get through and more things that I wanted to do. This year I had hoped to better model active giving for my children but volunteering requires going into environments I have no control over, so too often our giving is of a virtual or third hand nature. Our kids and their cousins, thanks to the patronage and planning of my mother (yes, she is the most amazing person I know), have been donating to Heifer Intl for years thus the virtual component. Both my kids’ schools participate in giving programs through food and present collections for families in needs, thus the removed part. And there we go – as always, when I write I realize how blessed I am. I begin with a complaint of things I cannot do and then realize how unnecessary they are or how others are doing the job for me. So I will focus on the home based holiday stuff I can control, like reading our Christmas books, making gifts for each other, and watching the Battle of the Nutcracker. The traditions we do have are meaningful and worth treasuring.
I have included some pictures of our holiday traditions. Some of the images are borrowed from my sister’s blog, because honestly I am too tired to take new ones. And that is just as much the spirit of Christmas in our house as anything else. I am sure that the New Year will bring renewed productivity but in the meantime let’s all be kind to ourselves and get throughout the holidays with minimal damage. It’s the EI holiday mantra – first do no harm. I am so grateful for my online community who understand my seasonal attitude is necessary and not completely Scrooge like!