The ME/CFS Ghost » 2 December 2014

Daily Archives: 2 December 2014

Don’t Get Bamboozled by Gift Buying At Christmas

Don't Get Bamboozled by Gift Buying At Christmas

Gift buying at Christmas hasn’t been a real issue in my family for many years now. We’re all fortunate enough to be able to buy ourselves whatever we want throughout the year, so not only is buying gifts for one another a complete nightmare at Christmas, but an exercise in futility much of the time. What we decided to do was save that money we’d spend on gifts and just spend it all on food and drinks that we could all enjoy together. This idea works great when you’re all adults, but for kids it’s a different story. I’m not so sure they’d appreciate the real Italian panettone one aunt brought over, and especially not the aged single malt whiskey grandpa treated everyone to. So there will always be some gifts that need to be bought at Christmas.

For people that are chronically ill, this is also the time of the year where we’re able to show our appreciation for those that have supported us and our illness throughout the year, be they carers or friends and family members. Here is what I would suggest:

  • It can be easy to be overwhelmed with wanting to buy the perfect gift that reflects just how much the receiver means to you. This is especially true if you want to thank someone for the way they have cared and supported you through your illness. Don’t worry too much; they obviously understand how ill you are and will appreciate the very fact that you got them anything and you can also include a note with the gift with just a few words expressing your gratitude. This will elevate the value of any gift card or bottle of wine you buy them.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to do your Christmas shopping! That’s good advice for everyone, but when health and energy are not something that can be relied upon, you probably won’t be able to rush out on Christmas Eve and pick up something last minute. Write out your gift giving plan well in advance and buy what you can early.
  • I don’t know about you, but I cannot handle crowds. Braving the shops at weekends let alone during the peak of Christmas shopping is just not something that I can even contemplate. This is where the internet is your friend! You can buy just about anything online and many places even offer free delivery and returns, so do your shopping from the comfort of your own home. I’ve had my nephew’s Christmas gift in the cupboard since October.
  • While some people are just hopeless when it comes to wrapping Christmas presents, the chronically ill can have real problems with the required dexterity and energy to get the job done. Take advantage of any offers to gift wrap items before they are sent out. If you don’t want to do this, because you’d like to inspect them first, skip the usual wrapping paper route, and just loosely wrap in coloured tissue paper and give in a festive gift bag or box.

Good luck with the gift buying – hopefully you’ll be more or less done by now and won’t have broken the bank or your body with the spending and effort!

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ME Sufferer’s Christmas Card Dilemma

ME Sufferer's Christmas Card Dilemma

You probably don’t think that something as simple as whether or not to send Christmas cards could be such a dilemma when you have ME, but that’s exactly what it is. Up until a couple of years ago I made every effort to buy, write and send cards to friends and family, and this was something I loved to do. But gradually it began to seem like a chore more than a joy. Just writing even a few cards was so difficult both physically, as I get joint and nerve pain in my hands and arms, and mentally trying to concentrate on getting the job done. I remember one year I was in such a brainfog that I had problems keeping names and addresses straight; a waste of perfectly good cards. Also, I stopped working, so the cost of buying and sending cards just seemed like such a ridiculous waste. My main issue was that I don’t like to do anything that is not done with love, and I had really stopped feeling any love in the act.

It’s been at least two years now, and I’ve just stopped sending any cards at all. I’m totally fine with my decision now, but it was difficult at first and I felt guilty. Another knock on effect of this is that many people have stopped sending me cards and I thought that would have made me feel bad, but I actually feel good about it. Some people may have stopped because if they don’t receive, they won’t send, and that is fair enough. But I know a number of people have stopped sending Christmas cards because they think it is a waste of paper and money. I read an article yesterday where the guy worked out how much money he spent on buying and sending cards and he donates that to a charity each year. Good for him.

The only cards I do receive now are from other ME sufferers, who totally understand why I don’t send cards. The one I received yesterday was from my friend who is unable to use her hands anymore due to RA. If you are like her and don’t want to give up Christmas cards and can afford it, then do what she does and get your cards pre-printed, similar to what companies do with their corporate Christmas cards. Or if you’re super organised, start writing out your cards weeks before December, so you’re not rushing to do them all in one sitting.

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The ME Nightmare Before Christmas

The ME Nightmare Before Christmas

I started this week having to face the reality that December is upon us and I’m going to have to make some really uncomfortable decisions about my plans for the holidays. My sister invited me to spend Christmas with her and her family several weeks ago, and I did say yes to her, but seriously at the time I hadn’t even really thought about it. Then my mum asked me this weekend if I was planning on going home and I told her I hadn’t thought about it. But yesterday all I saw were messages about people putting up their Christmas trees and I even received my first card in the post, and I know I better start deciding what I want to do. It’s strange because I had a really good day yesterday, because I was really enthusiastic about the plans and ideas I had for my blog and I was teeming with ideas. Plus I felt like I’d had a really productive day. Then in the evening the Christmas blues set in.

It Wasn’t Always This Way

As anyone in my family will tell you, I was the embodiment of Christmas spirit before my illness got the better of me. I loved planning and cooking Christmas dinner, spending time with my family and especially all the socialising in the work place at this time of the year. Christmas day, I’d be in the kitchen, with my Christmas CD playing and just enjoying myself to the max. I’m an Atheist so Christmas has never had any religious significance for me, but I love the more relaxed atmosphere and even the chaos of shopping. I lived a very hectic busy life, so Christmas was always a fabulous time for me to let down my hair and just enjoy myself. But that all began to slowly change as my energy levels dipped.

Christmas Can Be A Nightmare When You’re Ill

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” or so we’re lead to believe, but the reality is far from it. The shopping and socialising can leave healthy people ready to collapse by the time Christmas day rolls around. For the chronically ill, these pose real challenges and can cause relapses which take months to recover from or even mean permanent health issues. I’ve totally trimmed down my activities around Christmas for this very reason. I wanted to write about some of the challenges I’ve had to deal with related to Christmas, and that I know other ME sufferers have to deal with every year. Rather than list them all in one very long post, I’ve split them up into individual posts for each topic.

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