Preparing for the Holidays

It’s hard to believe it’s already that time of year again… Thanksgiving is here and Christmas is right around the corner. While it’s a joy to spend time with family and friends during the holidays it can also be very stressful for everyone, especially for those with MS.

So what do you do during the holidays? How do you manage your stress level during all of it and still get the shopping and the cooking done, and even the traveling?

I thought I would share how I get through the holidays with everyone. My memory isn’t that good, so if I don’t write it down… I will forget about it. So I start off with a checklist. This way I know what I have done and what I haven’t done and what I need to buy to make things for the holidays and what people I need to buy gifts for.

First off, when it comes to traveling, I don’t have to fly anywhere but I do have to drive, or my husband drives if he isn’t working (he is a Fire Fighter and works shifts). So, to make sure that I don’t have to deal with the traffic and crazy drivers during the Holidays, I always make sure that I plan to get to my destination a day or two before the actual holiday. There is usually a lot less traffic this way, and I make sure to plan my trip where I’m not going to be on the busy roads.

Then we have to think about all of those holiday gifts we have to buy. Well, I’m not brave enough to shop on Black Friday, I’ll tell you that much. I have found it very easy and reasonable to do my holiday shopping online. I also try and plan ahead on my gift shopping, so it’s not all done at once and I don’t “break the bank”. A lot of stores have it to where you can shop online and have it shipped to the store location closest to you, if you don’t want to pay shipping and handling. Something I’ve seen a lot lately is where the stores will wrap your gifts for you. This is a lifesaver for me because I couldn’t wrap presents well before and now that I suffer from spasticity in my hands; it’s nearly impossible (and at times dangerous) to wrap presents.

Now on to the lovely cooking portion of the holidays… all of that wonderful food that makes you feel guilty you ate once the holidays are over. I don’t have holiday meals at my house, so I don’t have to worry about a bunch of people coming over, but I do have to cook things and bring them to family gatherings. The crock-pot is my best friend during the holidays, because I can throw the ingredients in to the crock-pot and don’t have to worry about it all that much. I’m a total addict to Pinterest and the easy recipes that are shared. Pinterest also has a lot of quick/easy ideas for almost everything that you can think of.

If you are one of the lucky ones that has the whole family come to your house for the holidays, that’s something that I couldn’t handle, so kudos to you. However, if I am having a party for the kids or something like that at my house I have to prepare for that, so here are some things I do…

I don’t try and clean everything in one day, because I don’t want to pay for it fort he next week. I clean my house one section at a time, and I find it’s much easier that way. Also, if you have friends and/or family near, don’t be shy to ask them for a hand. I’m sure they would love to help you prepare. If all else fails, see if you can have someone clean your house for you. I know that there are a lot of cleaning services out there that are really expensive, but if you shop around, you might be able to find a deal. You may also talk with the National MS Organizations to see if they have any resources that can help you prepare for the holidays.

I hope this help you with the holiday stress… just remember to take it easy and don’t wait until the last minute when you have to rush. Plan things out and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I’m sure your family and friends would love to help you out but they might need to hear that you need that assistance.

I hope everyone has a good Thanksgiving!

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