When my pal Lene asked me to review her book, Chronic Christmas: Surviving the Holidays with a Chronic Illness, I was like YES. It took me a while to get to it because I haven't been as good at priorities lately - or, perhaps, I've been too good. After all, part of it was cause I was doing self-care stuff.
The whole point of Chronic Christmas can be boiled down to these great lines from the intro:
Each chapter will start out with a section dedicated to you, the reader who has a chronic illness, sharing something you can do to help yourself enjoy the season. And then there will be another section for those who'd like to help you, with some tips along the same theme (Kindle Locations 50-52).
So much of the time, items are for us OR our loved ones. There is little to no crossover which, frankly, is sad. We need more of those kinds of things that we can enjoy with our loved ones or share with them without any empathy or compassion training needed.
In addition to recommendations such as online shopping for us sick peeps, Lene weaves in ideas like our friends helping us out by going shopping with us or even for us. She even includes family recipes that look heavenly.
One of my favorite parts is where Lene talks gifts - specifically what our non-ill pals can get us for holidays. Gift certificates, subscription boxes, books, and even helping with our medical expenses make the list. We often don't think of giving gift cards like those pre-loaded Visa cards, but I can't help but think that those would be so much more helpful for us than our loved ones know.
I mean, I'd likely wind up buying the guinea pigs fun things, but they are a part of my life with illness, too. They aren't as expensive as other pets, but they sure do love to eat!
In the end, what Lene gives us is a sense of hygge, or that coziness that comes with connection, love, and support. To truly do this, we must embrace how things are (or good enough) while learning to ask for and receive help.