Wednesday, November 8, 2017


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    If you are anything like I had been before chronic pain, you have had your entire home decked out with all your treasured holiday d├ęcor! I think I counted 40+ snowmen at the highest count I’d strategically displayed around the house! As the years go by you find yourself lugging out countless boxes, unpacking each one and going about hunting out places to stick our treasures, only to have to duplicate all this action in reverse weeks later. Just writing about this makes me want to forget it all this year. It has seriously become a problem for me since the last three spine surgeries and the resulting Central Pain Syndrome spreading from my upper body to my lower body after the last surgery. I just cannot do it all like I use too! 

    Thankfully, Hubby carries the boxes up from the basement for me, helps to set up the tree and put on the lights. Then the boxes with the decorations and ornaments usually sit in the living room and dining room for over a week with it all slowly getting put out as I am able (& with his help, as time allows). With all the time that passes, Christmas closing in, I seriously consider putting it all back! 

     Why bother getting the rest out to just to turn around and have to suffer through undoing it all?  You all know how hard all that activity is with all the repetitive movement of lifting, reaching, twisting and bending.  It gets the nerves and muscles burning and screaming!  I’d get out of bed every day with great intentions of completing the decorating! However, dealing with chronic pain, it just doesn't happen as fast as we'd like! Eventually, I'd get out what I could and the leftover boxes end up getting put away! FULL!  And the next year, those “extra” boxes remained in the basement. I opted to put up the minimal. I felt a bit sad, yet relieved. It is better to have less to decorate and to be able to have less pain!

     No matter what decorations I am physically able to get out, it always brings joy to my heart! The glow of the tree with all the lights and ornaments, the snowmen that made "the cut" when I downsized the massive collection and the beautiful nativity, all bring cherished memories and happiness from many Christmases past! 

     I decorate for myself, but I also decorate for our little grandson! I so love when he comes to visit and looks with glee at all the decorations on the tree! I love it when he asks, with eyes wide and sparkly with excitement, "Grammy, can I hold that snowman for just a little bit, I promise to be careful!"  As he gently holds one, his eyes search for the next one to beg to hold and adore!
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     Then comes the wonder in his eyes as he moves to the nativity!  He knows I leave baby Jesus for him to place in the manger. After the baby is placed in the manger, he eyes Mary, Joseph, all the wise men, Shepard boy and animals that have all been strategically placed in and around the stable. His little hands go to reach, as he looks up to me and asks, "Grammy, can I touch them?" Grammy lovingly says, " I will help you! You aren't allowed to touch these by yourself for they are very dear to my heart. They use to be my mommy's and after she went to live with Jesus they became mine!" So I gently place whatever he wants to hold into his little tiny hands, hands that grow bigger every year!
 For in those moments, memories are made! decorate all I can, knowing he will fondly remember his Grammy and holding these cherished items during Christmas's later in his life! Yes, not only is it celebrating the gift of baby Jesus to the world, but making memories with those we love gives a purpose to this life with chronic pain during Christmas. Making it all more tolerable to achieve is what we need to add into our new "normal" so we can be able to do all we are able.That is why I do whatever I can to These are some of the things that I have had to incorporate into my new “normal” with Christmas decorating. I hope that you find at least some of them useful

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  •  Simplify – you know what your body can tolerate, it lets you know! If you are finding yourself overwhelmed and having increased pain from all the decorating, you might want to consider what options you have as far as eliminating some of it. I have cut back to a few choice areas to decorate instead of the whole house, as well as the outside. Oh, and the basement! We put up our Christmas tree, my snowmen on the fireplace mantel and the nativity. Hubby hauls all the stuff up and down the basement steps for me and helps with the lights, as well as the nativity. I decorate the tree over several days. As well as put out the snowmen. 
  • Ask for help – Make it a family activity. Make a party out of it, order some pizza to be delivered and put on some Christmas music. Unless of course you enjoy doing it yourself. Spread it out over several days.  If you are having a difficult time doing this on your own, maybe a friend would be delighted to help you, or even do it for you? You just never know who might be interested! 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017



Not only is it having chronic pain that makes buying gifts for Christmas extremely difficult, but for many, having so many people to buy for adds to that difficulty, and can make it very stressful! Being the youngest of a large family, married, with two married kids, a grandson, grand doggy, a plethora of nieces and nephews, great nieces and great nephews, a favorite dear aunt and uncle, as well as many friends and other loved ones I’d love to buy for, there just is no way I could physically or financially handle that! Fortunately, Christmas is not about having things all wrapped up nicely in a bow for us! The true meaning of Christmas is in the gift of a baby that came to bring salvation to a lost world! A gift of grace and a future without all this horrid stuff life here drowns us in! 
Many of us take this time of year to celebrate His birth and give gifts to show our love to others. This can become overwhelming to many! And very challenging for those of us with chronic pain!  Let’s take a look at some ideas that might make all this practicable for those of us with chronic pain. 
First we will look at the gifting element and then in my next blog, we will look at the shopping piece of it all!
Below are alternatives that can be taken into consideration with all this gifting that may be overwhelming for you. Take a look over the ideas to help reduce the number of people you buy for, fun ways to integrate gifting at family get-togethers, condense the variety of gifts you need to purchase, as well as alternatives to traditional gift ideas.

  • Have a “white elephant gift exchange” - Not only is this great fun, it helps cut down on gift buying as well as the type of gifts. Everyone brings a wrapped, used or inexpensive gift and places them in a pile. You each take turns picking one out.  The first person takes a gift and unwraps it. Then the second person chooses a gift from the pile, unwraps it, and then
  • Image result for WHITE ELEPHANT GIFT FREE IMAGEdecides if they want to keep it or exchange it for the first person’s gift.  The third person picks a gift, unwraps it and then decides to keep it or exchange it for one of the other gifts by the others that already opened theirs. And so on, until everyone has a chance to pick a gift, decide if they want to keep it or exchange it with someone else in the group.  Then the first person can pick a gift from anyone in the group, if they want to do so, or keep the one they have! Many great laughs arise from the silliness of the gifts often purchased at rummage sales or have had found been found around someone’s house, coveted nice gifts, goofy gifts and even prank gifts. Some fun gifts have even made repeated appearances from year to year!