December 9th: Hanukkah has started, Christmas is only 15 days away, and other holidays are coming soon!

By Caroltoo Latest Reply 2012-12-13 00:55:57 -0600
Started 2012-12-10 01:13:15 -0600

The holiday times can be filled with joy and cheer or stress and anguish. What are your plans for dealing with diabetes, food choices, health, family, stress, and celebrations this year? How can you make it a GOOD holiday for yourself?

Some of you have commented that you will be alone because of emotional or geographic isolation. What can you do to lessen the isolation and bring joy to the season even if you are alone. Share some of your favorite ways to bring joy into your heart despite the sad things we sometimes experience in life.

This year I will be spending what will probably be my husband's and my last Christmas together as he turns 89 and is now 12 years into Alzheimer's. I have Christmas music on right now and we are both listening.

I haven't decorated and may not (money is still tight and he is blind and can't see a tree). From my perspective, that's an OK decision because it reduces my holiday related work. For a visual, I've been growing my fuchsia bougainvillea over my lanai railing for a month or more and will just add a few poinsettias to what is already growing there and blooming profusely.

I'll fix a great low carb, gluten free, veggie and protein heavy Christmas dinner which we will share (he'll have 5-6 bites and I'll probably have my plate and some of his). Then we'll enjoy the leftovers for days and I won't have to cook for a while!

What will you be doing to bring joy and lessen the stress in your life?

33 replies

Tony5657 2012-12-12 06:23:50 -0600 Report

Thanks folks!!!!!!! This is one of the most uplifting & meaningful discussions that I've ever read/experienced. Thanks for taking your time to share.
ol' Tony in 30 degree New Braunfels, TX BUT you all warmed me up!

Caroltoo 2012-12-12 11:33:51 -0600 Report

Oh, Tony, that is chilly! When I lived on the Canadian border up in WA that wasn't unusual during the winter, in fact, would probably have considered it a relatively ok temperature, but having lived in Hawaii for over 22 years, I now shiver at the thought!

On a more serious note, glad this discussion has been uplifting for you. Sharing some of things that weigh us down as well as some of the joys that bring us energy is a good way to accomplish that. Somehow, it is healing and helpful just to know that despite our circumstances being specific to just us, that others know the issues, support us, and experience similar things. Enjoy your holiday with wife, son, and family members. Sounded so comfortable, warm, and inclusive as you described it.

Tony5657 2012-12-12 17:03:09 -0600 Report

Hi Carol,
Yes, this discussion is very uplifting to me and countless others, I'm sure. You have a way with words. You crafted each "reply" where your words come alive. Not many can do that. You've made my day. Keep it up my friend. :o) …Tony

MAYS 2012-12-11 21:37:27 -0600 Report

Just by being respectful of others, their beliefs and their customs goes a long way towards what the holiday season is all about, "Peace and Good Will towards all".
What more can anyone ask for that we are all capable of giving to one another?

Happy Holidays to all, regardless of your religious faith we all need one another in some sort of way!

Caroltoo 2012-12-12 02:12:18 -0600 Report

Good thoughts, Mays. Peace on Earth can only be gained by tolerance and respect for each other despite our differences. I've always liked the statement that we can have different views without one of us being wrong and one being right; we are just different and that is ok.

Safari4 2012-12-11 10:34:11 -0600 Report

My sons will visit and I am very blessed to have such loving church family. We 'll be sharing food, gifts as able, scriptures and a program to celebrate the birth of Jesus 16th. For those of you alone for one reason or another, I spent a few Dec. 25ths ( my birthday too) cooking and or serving at a homeless shelter and realized my many blessings. I used to be codependent but now I serve God.

Caroltoo 2012-12-11 10:57:56 -0600 Report

Surrounding one's self with friends who are like family can be very precious, but I'm happy for you also having sons who will visit.

Somoca 2012-12-10 17:54:54 -0600 Report

A good way to eliminate the loneliness is to help at an Urban Ministry or shelter, You will look at things differently after that. You won't be alone and it humbles you.

Caroltoo 2012-12-11 00:29:58 -0600 Report

Yes, and its a wonderful way to adjust our attitudes. I find working in my group home does some of that too. Some of the girls are so grateful for anything and others act so entitled that they never stop to say thanks for anything or anyone. Fascinating to see how very different we all are.

Tony5657 2012-12-10 14:35:54 -0600 Report

Dear Carol,

Your posting is a huge inspiration to me, emphasizing joy & cheer even while real "life" isn't always fun and kind. "Happy Memory making" is what I call it, choosing to do something "happy", something that will create happy memories. Thank you for sharing!

My wife & I have 2 adopted sons, Ethan who is 25 & mentally & physically disabled & not able to care for himself and still lives with us, AND the oldest, Luke, who is 30 and out on his own. Luke will be joining us for Christmas, driving here from Fort Worth, TX, 4 hours north of here.

On Christmas morning we will gather in the den & have Christmas music playing. The "tree" we use is a 1 ft. tall ceramic thingy with tiny lights. Hey, it's easy to carry & store! LOL We start out with prayer with each one participating, then one of us reads what we call The Christmas Story, the birth of Jesus found in the New Testament, in the book of Luke. (New International Version)

Luke Chapter 2, verses 1-20
1. In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

After this we pray again & open presents. Next we sip on coffee, hot tea, non-alcoholic eggnog, etc. & talk about the past year and what we want to do in the new year. Next, we all start helping with the Christmas Dinner (which is really Christmas Lunch for us). :o) My wife always plans a wonderful meal, usually turkey, cornbread dressing & many other things. The rest of the day is spent just being together, doing things that we all agree on and making Happy Memories. Two years ago it was 40 degrees and we decided to go swimming in the near by spring fed Comal River, which stays a constant 72 degrees all year. It was OK until we got out of the 72 degree water & the 40 degree wind hit us!! Ouch!!! LOL

Tony5657 in New Braunfels, TX

Caroltoo 2012-12-11 00:39:58 -0600 Report

Sounds like you do have lots of great things already planned and I really love hearing that these are traditions for you…ways you have shared the holidays with your family for years.

Sharing the love and acceptance in our families is a beautiful thing and focusing on what we have to be grateful for puts a whole different twist on the day. The day really is about love, not about things; about being cared for and about, not about what I want to "get". Looking at the good in our life is always so uplifting, while a focus on material stuff just leaves us feeling vaguely dissatisfied and thinking we somehow missed out on something.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-12-10 18:51:06 -0600 Report

Tony sounds like you have a wonderful day planned. I remember us getting up on Christmas morning opening gifts and having gift wrap everywhere. We always got a game for Christmas and up until the computer age we still got one. We have every game my parents ever gave us.

We would play the game while the turkey was roasting and talk to family members on the phone. My aunts ex-husband remained good friends with my parents and he was always here Christmas morning. After dinner we would play the game again while mom and dad watched tv.

On New Years Day, we would rotate houses for the family gathering. Today our family is still a large close family, I only have one aunt and uncle left and we try to get together as a family sometime during the summer. People come and go in our lives but fond memories can brighten your day. Have a happy holiday.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-12-10 10:22:22 -0600 Report

I have not stressed out over the Holidays since I learned there was no Santa Claus. I am not working again this holiday season so money is tight. Out gifts to the family for the family will come out of our Stainless Steel Jewelry inventory.

I am not putting up a tree, the thing is too heavy to get out of the basement. My goal is to give it away and buy a lighter weight pre-lit tree for next year. My house needs a lot of work and since my sister is attempting to buy it from our landlord, we don't want him to fix anything. It will increase the value. Once we sign the contract we will start ripping out a few walls and putting in a new furnace and getting central air. We need to save what money we have for our major projects. We have people lined up to help with this and we can do much of the work ourselves. Since my parents didn't have son's our father taught us how to use his tools.

I will cook a full Christmas Dinner. Since it is just my sister and I, we buy a whole turkey and have it cut in half. We will probably be at a friends or a relatives house.

If you are alone for Christmas, find out if you also have friends who are going to be alone. You may have friends whose family lives in another state and they can't afford to travel. Get together with them and have a Christmas dinner. Treat yourself to dinner at a nice restaurant. If someone is waiting to eat and they are alone, ask if you can join them and you might meet a new friend. If you know your neighbors, find out who is going to be home for the holidays and not having guest. Get together with them for desert and coffee. There are all kinds of things you can do if you know the right people to keep from being alone.

I have a friend who lived in an apartment complex. They were all single people and they would have Christmas Brunch before heading out to dinner. On Christmas Eve, they would have a cookie exchange and served Egg Nog and coffee.

Caroltoo 2012-12-10 12:19:07 -0600 Report

Sounds like you have made some good choices to reduce your stress too. I like your plan about redoing the house AFTER you buy it. Good move!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-12-10 18:44:56 -0600 Report

Carol, I get the most stress from working in the community than I do with personal problems. I can only do the best I can with what I have. I buy what I need, not what I want. However, I no longer want a Kindle, I want a tablet however, if the Kindle shows up I will be grateful.

JSJB 2012-12-10 07:52:49 -0600 Report

I'll be staying home but not before picking up my daughter and grandson. The house is all decorated so not much work to do. As far as diet control, who knows. My wife cooks the food I grew up on so it will be hard to say no.

Caroltoo 2012-12-10 12:16:36 -0600 Report

Yes, what we are used to eating can be a challenge, especially when it's really good. A little of everything and more later in the evening keeps me feeling happy about my food. Having discovered my issue was more gluten than just carbs, I'm planning on a little of everything.

JSJB 2012-12-10 14:36:37 -0600 Report

A little bit of everything is how I plan all holiday meals but it doesn't work out that way but I do try.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-12-10 10:24:00 -0600 Report

JS, I plan on eating everything I like for Christmas dinner. It will be the free day for the week. That is the one day, I won't be too concerned with my numbers. If I follow my usual plan, I won't over do the carbs.

JSJB 2012-12-10 11:35:26 -0600 Report

Great, we will enjoy the day

Caroltoo 2012-12-10 12:20:31 -0600 Report

That's the plan! Accepting in advance that it may be a little different than what we have experienced in that past, is a good way to set ourselves up for success too.

Set apart
Set apart 2012-12-10 05:51:01 -0600 Report

Hi Carol, I was actually wondering how all my friends are doing with this holiday season. It sounds as if you've got a plan and that's great. I have decorated our home, the tree does look great and the snow we got yesterday at least 6 inches made the lights outside look wonderful! I have done some shopping and plan on trying to finish most of it this week! As far as cooking I am trying not to stress, this is my second year and the traditional foods I used to cook probably will be limited or won't cook them at all since I don't eat most of them anymore! This is the year I am trying to be spontaneous and not so structured in my planning, if it happens it does and if it doesn't oh well! I am focusing on the real reason for the season, my faith and spending time with family and friends! May your time with your husband be blessed! Hugs!

Caroltoo 2012-12-10 12:25:23 -0600 Report

Yes, I find my beliefs bring a sense of joy and peace even when I can't predict the rest of it. I've always felt I was safe in the hallow of God's hand and believed that things will work out for me, not always as I expected, but always in a way that is good. Leaves a lot of room for me to continue to grow within a safe space.

jayabee52 2012-12-10 05:47:39 -0600 Report

I plan on spending a part of Christmas with my # 2 son. Not the Christmas I had envisioned when his mother and I married (1977), but it is the way it now.

Since it will be at his home, I suspect that his mother will be there with her "new" Hubby as well (if they're not on the road over the holidays).

Caroltoo 2012-12-10 12:26:51 -0600 Report

Life doesn't always work out like our plans for it say it "should" be, but, resilient man that you are, you will find much to enjoy and be thankful for! That's just what you do best, James.

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