Everyone’s christmas is a bit different. Everyone has their own traditions. Mine is heavily influenced by my chronic illnesses.
First is the preparation for christmas. I get most my christmas shopping done in November. It means it’s less stressful (and my body can’t cope with stress) and it means that everything has time to arrive in the post. Because all my christmas shopping is done online. Shops are difficult enough during the rest of the year, but the added lights and extra crowds near christmas means I can’t do christmas shopping at physical shops. It’s too exhausting.
One tradition I do have, that involves some christmas shopping, is going to a christmas market. We go at the end of November during the day and during the week. This means it’s not too busy and the lights don’t affect me too much when it is still daylight. However, some years I have had to skip this because I was just not up to going.
Then there’s decorating for christmas. My christmas tree does have lights, but they don’t flash and I’ve only turned them on once so far this year. Most of the time they just give me a headache so I don’t turn them on. I have a small tree because I don’t have the energy to decorate a big one. Most of my non-tree decorations are candle holders, because I used to love candles. I still put them out as decorations but I don’t light the candles anymore. I can’t cope with the smell. Even the unscented ones because of the smell when they are blown out.
There are no decorations on the outside of my house. As I said, lights are a problem for me. It’s also a problem for me when other people have lights on their houses. Being out after dark, even driving a short distance, often results in a migraine. My red glasses, that cut out all blue light, help a bit but there are still flashes. Since I am often worse in winter because of the cold weather, I don’t go out much after dark anyway. If the red glasses don’t do enough, I close my eyes (I’m never the one driving since I don’t habe a licence so it’s perfectly safe). Which ends up making me sick instead because of motion sickness.
And then there’s christmas day itself. My christmas is limited just to christmas day. I don’t have several days of seeing different family like some people do. I have enough family that I could do that but I just can’t do that much in a short period of time. Which means there are lots of family members who I don’t see at all near christmas.
On the day, I don’t have a christmas morning. Christmas day, like every other day, I sleep until lunchtime. I need about 14 hours sleep a night to function and christmas day is no exception.
Once I’m up, I eat lunch. It’s a normal lunch at a regular mealtime. Making big changes to my diet is very risky and having too many fatty foods is a no-go. So it’s a normal lunchtime.
After lunch, we open presents. I open mine very slowly. It’s overwhelming and I struggle to focus. It’s often too much for my brain to take in. Once the presents are open, my presents get put into a pile. The pile won’t get put away for several days. My memory is bad and I will forget what I have gotten so I will regularly look through the pile to remind myself. When it does eventually get put away, I will take photos first so I can use the photos as reminders of what I got. This makes it seem like I get a huge pile of gifts, but I don’t. It’s a fairly small pile. My memory is just really really bad.
After presents, we might play a few games. It depends how ‘with it’ my brain is that day. If I’m not up to games, I leave my family to watch tv or whatever they want to do while I read a book. I don’t watch tv with them, or at least not for long. Because christmas is like every other day to my body. And my body and brain cannot cope with the stimulation of tv for more than an hour-ish per day.
Then it’s time for dinner. It’s at the same time as it is on every other day. No 3pm meals. We eat at 6pm ish. Changing the routine of when I eat is too much for my digestive system so I can’t do mid-afternoon meals. We have a big roast dinner but it’s not that different from a Sunday roast for me. I might have a few sprouts, but all the extra things like pigs in blankets and different roast vegetables are not an option. Every new addition to my diet has to be slowly introduced to avoid my colon complaining about it. Having several foods that I only eat at christmas would mean introducing all those foods into my diet just for the one day. My meal will be mash potato, roast potato, carrot, broccoli, and meat. Those are all things I know I can safely eat. My family eats all the extra things so it is more for them.
The evening is either more games or more reading my book, depending on how my day is going. It is also a time to eat chocolate and biscuits and all that kind of stuff. Again, I have to be very careful not to go too far from my normal diet or my colon will get revenge.
And then it’s time for bed. My bedtime routine will be exactly the same as any other day to increase my chance of getting a good sleep, because after christmas day, I will really be in need of a good sleep.
Then my christmas is over. I get a week’s rest and then it is New Year’s Eve. New Year doesn’t really deserve it’s own post so I will add it here. I don’t go out or really celebrate New Year. It’s way too much stimulation and is too exhausting, especially since it’s late at night. I usually stay awake until just after midnight so it is a late night for me, mostly to keep my dog calm during the midnight fireworks. But I will spend the evening alone doing nothing of importance. At 11:50pm-ish I will turn on the tele to watch the countdown. But it is quickly turned off after midnight when they start showing fireworks. My dog hates the bangs but they give me a headache too and we are much better without them. And then it’s off to sleep as soon as the neighbours have finished their fireworks and my dog has calmed down again.