Chronic Illness and Christmas
Every year as October came to its end I would begin to stress about the holidays. When you have a chronic illness and especially brain fog, common among Lymies, the holidays can bring about an overwhelm that is unlike any other time of year. It doesn’t have to be that way and so I want to share my 7 secrets for organizing a great Christmas, even if you have a chronic illness.
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7 Steps to Organizing
It should go without saying that prayer is always the first step. I didn’t even think about including it in my list because it’s such a natural part of my life. But, as a reminder, PRAY! Put your plans into God’s very capable hands and He will guide and direct you! He will also give you peace and that’s something that we all need, especially around the holidays.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7(ESV)
1. Create Lists
The first step to organizing a great Christmas is to create your lists!
Find lists online, download and print. Place your lists in a Christmas themed three-ring binder or a white binder with a clear slip pocket and put a beautiful Christmas Themed Title Page inside.
Use a project management app like Trello or my favorite AirTable.
2. Use a Survey
Get your family and children to complete a survey rather than writing down their wishlists! I love using an electronic survey like SurveyMonkey because I can ask questions like, “What makes Christmas special for you?” and “What is your favorite Christmas food?” You can take a peek at the Christmas survey I created and then create your own. Making Christmas Beautiful.
3. Order Gifts Online
Online order isn’t just for those with chronic illness, everyone orders online at some point. Ordering online offers ease and saves time so take advantage of this great step. This year I signed up for EBATES and I’m really glad I did. I’ve already earned cash back which I can use for more gifts.
Keep track of expenses and gift lists using an app like Santa’s Bag. I absolutely love this app! I’ve used it for a number of years now! Having everything typed into the app keeps me from losing paper lists and I can keep track of my Christmas budget for each person and how much I’ve spent. There are selections for Need to Purchase, Purchased, and even a place for me to type where I hid the gift! This is a must have because I’m famous for hiding gifts and finding them well into the New Year.
5. Create a Holiday Notebook
A Holiday notebook is where you can keep recipe ideas, coupons, event flyers and anything else you need to keep track of for the holidays. I love my Christmas Travel Journal. It’s not too big and it’s perfect for throwing in my bag if I need to take it with me somewhere.
6. Gather and Organize Holiday Recipes
Use Pinterest for organizing your favorite recipes. Create a board just for Christmas. If you’re not a techy person then add a section for recipes to your three-ring Christmas binder.
7. Clear the Clutter
Pack away non-Christmas knick-knacks and decorations so that when you decorate for the holidays you will be able to enjoy them and have less clutter.
8. Set Reminders & Use a Planner
Use your smartphone to remind you of everything you need and want to do during the holiday. This can include reminders for important Christmas events that you’ll be attending, when to purchase specific gifts, to place orders for things that may need to be shipped, the date you’ll need to mail your cards, and even reminders to schedule a time to spend with loved ones. If you prefer a written calendar make sure it’s available and look at it every day so that you don’t forget anything.
These are a few ways I organize my holidays and stay on track of everything I want to do. My phone pretty much became my second brain when I got Lyme disease and so I have learned to rely on the tools I have available to be highly organized and effective.
What have you found to be helpful for organizing your holidays when you have a chronic illness?