Thursday, December 20, 2012


Every year I swear I'm not going to get caught up in holiday stress, and, for the most part, I succeed. I try to buy gifts throughout the year, package and ship gifts, write up and send cards, buy and decorate the tree, and make cookies reasonably early in December, and this year I managed it. With every thing else I've had on my plate, though, I feel a little tired and put through the wringer; and I haven't set foot in a mall since late November! We don't even have any parties to go to, either. Is it that life is generally busy enough that adding the extra duties of the holidays overloads the system? Maybe. No matter how hard I try, I always end up feeling a little overwhelmed.

I think part of it is an underlying sadness that comes with knowing that no matter how lovely your holidays can be, they will still be without people special to you. It's not something I think about consciously or notice on a daily basis, but it still wears on me a little bit. Combined with the manic capitalism and the message that if you're not loved and don't have family, you're not part of the magic, it all gets a bit tough. With this melancholy and everything else holiday and non-holiday that I've been racing to finish, there've been a few difficult moments.

I made Dad's favorite cookies and took part of a day last week to bring them over to him. I also had some gift cards for his caregivers to thank them for all their hard work and care of Dad, which they really appreciated. The visit and gifts were something to check off on my to-do list, but surprisingly, I spent a peaceful and calm half-hour with Dad as he alternately snoozed and looked at me. It was actually really nice to sit there quietly, with no Christmas carols blaring, no pile of things needing finishing at home, and nowhere to be just then but sitting with my Dad. It was quite lovely and just what I needed.

I guess we just have to be as aware as possible when this time of year rolls around, and get through it the best we can. I don't really have any conclusions or advice, but I appreciate being able to write it all down and send it out there. Thank you.

I do have one thing to say, and that is, if there was ever a time to thank you're loved one's caregivers, this is it. Show them how much you appreciate the love and care they provide every day. Gift cards or tips are a great idea, just make sure you check the tipping policy of the facility where your loved one lives; caregivers might be restricted from accepting gifts. What better way to show your appreciation, though, than a thoughtful thank you at this time of year!

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