THE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS
Well I’m sure I don’t after explain to the Megsters that I am the barr humbug of the CFS/ME team. I have never professed to like Christmas or all the jollities that go with it. Why……..I’m truthfully not sure other than the fact that the world does not seem fair, or at least not in my eyes. Anyway this is my definition of Christmas from the way that I think.
Christmas has always been a time of celebration whether you believe in it as to celebrate the birth of Christ or not. If you are a “believer” I guess that you must feel let down by society and the media hype of all the commercialism.
Holy-day symbolises more of holiday – time off work, much the same as Good Friday and Easter Monday. I am not a religious person but I wonder how many of us would change our tune if none believers had to work on holydays?
Like God said. The seventh day is a day of rest hence “Thou shall rest on the Sabbath day! Try telling Marks & Spencer this; blimey what would the world do ….no IKEA on Sundays. Has the world become such a materialistic place?
Christmas fortunately is still recognised as a time of giving and sharing. Homeless people get a little more recognition and thought of maybe because of the extravagance of the media and a lot of people in general.
It makes me wonder what the homeless people really think? Do they feel sad thinking of all families rushing around town with lots of gifts under their arms, probably more gifts than they even have as possessions? Or do they feel that Christmas promotes more of an awareness in society of their predicament be it conscience or realisation of greed and waste? Or do they believe that Christmas is a time that people choose to want to be more Christian or could it even be that it is winter and it is far too cold for people to be out in the cold? A lot of homeless have usually lost all family ties no doubt for lots of reasons – some would admit they have contributed to this themselves.
For most people Christmas means families and within every family this also means the loved ones that are no longer with us. Families try to pull together sometimes forgetting their differences for a day. But those not present sometimes have the greatest impact on our thoughts at Christmas. Christmas would not have much bearing if we did not at some point ponder and spare a thought for those loved ones not sat here for whatever reason that might be.
Where there is celebration there is usually drink. This can be jovial it can also lead to deep philosophy of all the above. Family get togethers/parties sometimes a concoction for disaster many suffer the aftermath physically and financially.
What a strange time of year!
Children are excited with the lights, glitter, tinsel and the thought of a man dressed in a red and white coat with a fluffy bearded coming down the chimney pot with all the presents they could possibly wish for.
Fantastic offers and games to tempt you with on every advert on TV, not to mention that everybody must need a new sofa for Christmas, it seems.
Yet tradition is paramount turkey and brussel sprouts with Christmas pudding to follow.
Or maybe that is all an excuse for a good old fashioned idea of sitting down around a table with your family and friends eating a substantial healthy meal and talking to each other…
Christmas with CFS/ME:
Christmas is probably the busiest time of the year whether we like it or not. So the question I guess is how can we deal with it to try to preserve energy and enjoy the experience. Most people who have had the condition for a while will know that “pacing” is a great asset. When you are able to recognise your own limitations and adhere to “stopping” before you have to. It is very frustrating and boring especially if you are enjoying what you are doing at the time but management is the only way to find and maintain your baseline.
With this comes planning, some of us are good at this but for others, it is more difficult. A lot of our clients love to be extravagant at Christmas and spend a lot of time and effort decorating their homes and I must admit they make a great job of it. Unfortunately, they also get carried away and boom and bust in the process.
We try to advise people to get others to help when they can, do a bit then stop, rest then continue. If need be there is always the day after to finish the job everything does not have to be completed in a day.
If you do buy lots of presents buy them in advance, dedicate a specific time to perhaps shop on line or look through magazines. Write your cards out in small batches; give yourself time to do this. I heard someone say “the way to wrap gifts is to do them individually as you buy them, a gift wrapped with love is better than a gift wrapped in haste – begrudgingly because you are tired” I thought this is very true as we usually sit wrapping at the last minute. Another good idea is to buy gifts from places that they gift wrap, they can make a fantastic job.
If you have time and love bargains you can buy a lot of Christmas things in January and save yourself a fortune. Some people even buy gifts all through the year…whatever floats your boat.
Food wise again planning and preparation, buy what you can when you can. Avoid supermarkets at peak times, buy a few things to prevent that mad Christmas rush that most people do every year. Buy foods that take less time preparing peeled veg etc, frozen veg, frozen turkey. This may go against the grain of Christmas tradition but if these small things help to save your energy and give you more quality family time, do it. If you get invites to relatives take them, this saves a lot of the tidying up, don’t be the one who “always” invites family to you, take turns if need be. Don’t be afraid to ask for help get family, kids and friends to muck in – they may well enjoy it.
If all else fails go out for Christmas dinner, it may cost the earth but time, effort and energy cannot be measured if you can afford it.
Remember also to always have a contingency plan which you discuss with family and friends before any occasion. If you go out, agree to strategies know how much tolerance and energy you have and look at ways to meet those needs. Come home, arrange to go in a quieter place for a while or plan a sleepover and make an exit when you need to. If you are in your own environment make an excuse to slip away.
There will always be someone who will not understand so don’t get wrapped up in justifying yourself, this is energy wasted. Communication is important but there is a time and a place….but perhaps not Christmas.
Now it is your turn to create a Christmas card that will inspire new clients with less knowledge or insight of the condition. Hopefully this will also help you to pace and ground yourself towards achieving a manageable and enjoyable time. Take the reindeer by the antlers and see how you can all support yourselves during this festive time of year.
I look forward to any responses you may want to share with the website and if we can put ideas together to make a simple card of positive ideas, I’m sure the team would gladly put them on our rack and give them out to clients as reminders of ways of saving energy.