Adapting Our Christmas

When you have a chronic illness and/or disability, so many aspects of life requite adapting to make them as safe, easy and enjoyable as possible. As everyone’s needs are different, so are the adaptations we need to make. But, I thought it would be nice to share with you how we’re adapting our Christmas this year, to make it a great time for everyone involved.

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Adapting Our Christmas: Christmas Tree

The biggest adaptation that we’ve made this year (other things we’ve put in place previously) and the one that’s inspired this blog post is our mini Christmas tree. With me having to use my wheelchair practically full time, there just isn’t enough room in our lounge for standard sized Christmas tree.

Last year, we found a temporary new home for my wheelchair, as it was usually kept where our Christmas tree goes. But this year there’s no way we can find a temporary home for me wheelchair, because I’m using it!

Adapting Our Christmas

The layout with our Christmas tree table display, the sofas and the spot my wheelchair lives when I’m sat on the sofa

I transfer from my wheelchair to the sofa, and my chair stays in the gap between the sofas. Usually with a cat curled up on it. There is space the other side of the two seater sofa, which is where the Christmas tree usually goes. But, if we were to put a tree here Dan would have to climb over the back of the sofa to sit down, or keep moving my wheelchair just so he can sit down.

So instead, we decided on a mini tree that would sit on the table by the side of the three seater sofa.

Dan really wanted our mini tree to be real, and his Mum was able to find us a lovely one when they went to buy their Christmas tree. It’s the perfect size! Dan wrapped the fairy lights round the table the tree was on and we made a little feature out of it. So instead of a usual Christmas tree, we have a Christmas tree table display and love it!

Adapting Our Christmas

Our two seater sofa with my wheelchair in it’s spot when I’m sat on the sofa. The gap to the right of the sofa is where my wheelchair used to live and where our Christmas tree usually goes.

Adapting Our Christmas: Seeing Family

I love going down to Essex to visit my family, particularly at Christmas. But, with my PoTS having me out of action every morning, my parents house not being wheelchair accessible, my energy levels being low and SPD adding extra pain into the mix, not to mention the difficult christmas lights cause with my migraine, travelling to Essex over the Christmas period would’ve been very, very difficult.

I also have quite a few hospital appointments before Christmas, between Christmas and new year, and after. So fitting those in AND travelling down to Essex would’ve been full on and too much for me.

So that I didn’t miss out on seeing my Nanna at Christmas, Mum and Dad brought her up to attend the concert Dan and I were involved with the local choir. This was a lovely evening, and so nice that Mum, Dan and Nanna were able to make it.

Adapting Our Christmas

Mum and Dad will be up with us just after Christmas. My sister has suggested that she might be able to bring my niece up too, which would be lovely.

Dan and I will be staying with his parents Christmas Eve through to Boxing Day. Their house isn’t wheelchair accessible, but has lots of seating, so it’s never more than a few steps between chairs. I can manage this with someone to steady me as and when I get dizzy. Moving around is going to take a lot of strategic planning, but we think we’ll be able to manage it. Dan’s parents’ house is already set up with a stairlift and she other daily living aids, like a shower stool for Dan’s Nan, so I’ll be able to make use of these.

We’ll also have my wheelchair in the car incase we’re able to go to midnight mass. So if I need to, we can try and manage it in the house. This will involve Dan carrying it up the step into the house, me struggling with pushing on carpet and possibly moving some of the furniture. But, worst case scenario, at least Dan will be able to use it to push me to the toilet!

Adapting Our Christmas

Adapting Our Christmas: Buying And Wrapping Presents

The last few years, Christmas presents have been largely bought online. This reduces the amount of time I have to spend battling crowds and avoiding as many flashing lights as possible. This year, I took it one step further. To save my hands from the additional pain caused by wrapping up presents, I’ve had the presents for my Essex family delivered to my parents’ house. Mum very kindly offered to act as my wrapping and distribution service.

I’ve also not written any Christmas cards for the past few years, again to save my hands from excess pain.

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Adapting Our Christmas: Food

With all my allergies, Christmas dinner has always had to be adapted. There are certain things I can’t have and others that need alternatives to be substituted in. This is something that we’ve always had to do for me. It’s become second nature to me, my family and Dan’s family. I won’t go into this too much, instead, you can check out my food allergies page and my free-from Christmas foods post for ideas if you’re in a similar situation.

With my PoTS being worse and significantly affected by eating, as well as my oesophageal dysmotility, Christmas food is going to require even more adaptation this year. Portion sizes will need to be much smaller to avoid my PoTS flaring up. I’ll also have to concentrate on eating small (but healthy) snacks through out the day, rather than dipping into the Christmas chocolates. The next few days will be spent planning nutritious but also interesting and different snacks. I want to continue to get the nutrients baby and I need, but also not feel I’m missing out on yummy Christmas food.

I’m sure we’ll be adapting our Christmas in other ways to make it easier for me. But, I just can’t think of how right now! I suspect they’re things that we’ve been doing for years and have become our normal. If I think of anything else, I’ll be sure to let you all know.

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Do you make any adaptations to your Christmas to make it easier for you or a loved one?

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Tania Jayne

  • Your mini tree is cute! I love how you surrounded it with ornaments. And that is really nice of your parents and grandma coming to visit you, especially because you and baby need to rest! My older sister and I flare up really badly during the winter, especially with our Raynaud’s. Even when I wear gloves I still get them! I try to stay inside as much as possible, I cannot stand cold weather at all!

    Hannah the Mad Dog