You may have noticed I talk a lot about planning this time of year. That's because it really works for me, as I attempt to enjoy the holiday season with fibromyalgia. I start planning early, and revise as needed, to get to Christmas without wiping myself out -- but it doesn't end there. I have to think ahead about Christmas day as well.
I have young kids -- my son is 7 and my daughter's 5. That means Christmas day starts early. After we're done unwrapping gifts at home, we generally get together with my husband's immediate family to have brunch and exchange gifts. Then, we go to his grandma's house for present opening with aunts, uncles and cousins; some activities; dinner; and then usually some kind of game that can last until all the little kids (and some of the adults) are falling asleep on their feet.
It's a fun day, and I don't want to miss any of it. Sometimes, I've had to. A couple of years ago, I stayed home and took a 3-hour nap while my family went off to have fun. Last year, I planned better and fared better as well. Here's what I'm planning for this year:
- Lots of scheduled down time in the days before Christmas (which is possible because of my earlier planning.)
- Strict dietary control (for my gluten intolerance) in the days before, and on Christmas day until after dinner, so the symptoms don't hit during the festivities. I can't expect myself to abstain all day!
- Giving myself permission to slip away to a quiet corner and rest if I need it.
- Lists, lists, lists! I'll have prepared lists for everything we need to take when we leave home, and I'll also make a list of everything my kids take with them.
- Organization. As we all rip open presents that will need to be taken home, in a small room with 20 or so other folks, I'll try to keep everything in one area so we're not searching high and low for things at the end of the evening.
- Keeping key meds & supplements on hand. I'll take a supply of Vicodin, Flexeril, DHEA & theanine with me, so I can get on top of problems fast.
What do you do to help you get through the big day? What mistakes have you made? Share your holiday stories below!
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