Posted on: Jul 24, 2019 03:31AM
Here it is, not yet the end of July, and planning has already begun for holidays. My family probably isn't much different from others. People have expectations about what should happen, either because of history/tradition or assumptions, and then when told that won't work, chaos ensues! My husband, children, and I are already in conflict about how to spend Christmas.
I could go into personal details, but this is probably a pretty universal issue. What are your thoughts about holiday planning? What problems have you had while dealing with holidays and your cancer diagnosis? What problems do you anticipate for this year? What strategies will you use to deal with issues? What successes have you had in dealing with planning problems?
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Posts 1 - 30 (30 total)
Jul 24, 2019 09:17AM Ingerp wrote:
We've taken the easy way out and taken a trip over the holidays since my kids were pretty small. Really cuts down on the present shopping too--the trip *is* the present!
Jul 24, 2019 09:33AM Ingerp wrote:
That it is. I also realized it was stupid (and kind of a fire hazard!) to put up a tree/decorate too much if we weren't going to be home. And quite a few years ago my "big family" (sibs/mother) decided that for the adults, we'd draw names and only buy for one person each year. Most of my shopping is for my nieces/nephews, and I know people don't like to hear it, but I usually wrap that up in October. Other than writing my stupid annual Christmas letter, the holidays are pretty easy-peasy for me!
And lest I sound too laissez-faire about all of this, I do get that there are additional challenges/stressors with a BC diagnosis or treatment. Many years we give a mid-December holiday party and I skipped it the last couple of years. I can't say I didn't have the energy, but I just wasn't in the mood. For heavens sake be gentle to yourself and don't over-do. And make that clear *now*. Decide what you want to do and especially what you don't want to do, and then STICK TO IT. In my friend group we talk about playing the cancer card, and we are *all* entitled to that.
Jul 24, 2019 09:44AM kber wrote:
We got some serious static this year when I told folks I didn't want to host Passover like we usually do, as I would be 4 months into chemo at the time. Long story short, I got the usual promises that others would "do everything" and all we had to do was open our home. I made a list of what "everything" entailed. Come to my house two days early and clean up. Go grocery shopping, Move the furniture around to accommodate everyone. Cook. Clean, Lead the service. Move the furniture back. I explained that my husband had already picked up 99% of the household chores, child care chores, and was still working full time, so the holiday could NOT create any extra work for him on top of what he was already doing.
I also warned folks that the day Passover fell this year was on my worst post chemo day, so I'd probably excuse myself halfway through the celebration and go to bed.
I got assurances that everyone understood and still wanted to come, so that's what happened. I didn't lift a finger. I couldn't if I wanted too. In a weird way, it was a good thing. Although everyone worked much harder than they thought they would, I think they finally got it through their heads that I was indeed quite sick, that I wasn't faking anything, and that their Pollyanna assumptions about my state were wrong.
The downside, after being a bit shocked at my appearance and general weakness, my poor husband had to field a ton of "Is she dying???" questions!
Not sure what we will do this coming year, but I believe we will have a lot more flexibility and understanding than previously!
Jul 24, 2019 09:57AM Spookiesmom wrote:
The first time around, my bmx was 10 days before Christmas and I still had drains. I told DD I couldn’t/wouldn’t do it, so we did it at her house. Just us, and SILs mom & stepdad.
DHs family won’t come here, I refuse to go there. So there’s that. 1000 mile either way
I honestly don’t care anymore about decorating and big dinners. I don’t have the stamina for it. If it wasn’t for the grands, I wouldn’t even do a tree.
So I order some party trays from Publix, make a chocolate cheesecake for the grands, DD brings veggie tray. Merry Christmas.
Jul 24, 2019 10:44AM - edited Jul 24, 2019 10:45AM by AliceBastable
I just realized I have absolutely no idea what I did for Christmas last year. We went to my brother-in-law's in mid-December, which is their family tradition and lots of fun. I think my family was supposed to have a get-together at my niece's house before Christmas, but it got cancelled due to her partner being sick. It never got rescheduled. I suggested picking a date during a nice time of year for us to all get together, but after some initial enthusiasm, that didn't happen either. It's just me, Hubby, grown son, my sister, her two adult kids and their partners, and the nephew's kids including a stepson. Very small family, all in the same city, but for some reason we don't see each other.
I remember we went to a local park the day before Christmas. It has all kinds of farm animals, so that was fun. And we went to my son's church at night. But Christmas day is a blank - we must have kept it low-key to the point of invisibility. This year, my family will probably pretend to plan something, then cancel as the date approaches. And my sister will blame all of us for everything, and insult everybody, whether we get together or not. It's what she does. Who says we don't have a family tradition? 😁
Jul 24, 2019 01:14PM edwards750 wrote:
Let me add this year it will be a very difficult time for our family. My sister’s BC has metastasized to her stomach and she is currently undergoing chemo. It’s heartbreaking. She has 2 more treatments to go. She and my BIL typically come for Thanksgiving but we just don’t know what will happen at this point.
My husband’s family and mine both have Thanksgiving dinners at different times of the day and my husband’s family has a big Christmas celebration after Christmas to accommodate his large family too.
All that is on hold though. My sister is our top priority.
Aug 8, 2019 05:39AM ctmbsikia wrote:
Best wishes to your sister Diane.
Holidays are different for our family now. My parents are gone ( Dad 2014 & Mom 2015) and that just changed the whole family dynamic as their home was the center of the family. My DH used to get angry that we spent every holiday with my family. His is a broken family full of dysfunction. One year (around 2004) he invited all of them for a holiday breakfast and that tradition went on for several years. I even blended the families together at times. As you can imagine, my holidays began at the crack of dawn and went on the entire day whether the dinner was at our house or we went out to a siblings. This all came to a halt after my parents died and then my mother in-law became delusional and we eventually had her placed in a facility after her 2nd husband passed away just last year. And of course, getting cancer in December 2017 didn't help things either.
So now, I don't have to plan anything. Last year was first time in many years that I had nothing, no one at my house. My brother usually has Thanksgiving. It's nice to finally be able to sleep in. My niece is always inviting us to her home around Christmas, and she has a little one so yeah, time to let the younger ones take over. I am more than happy to give it up although I was sad when it happened. We are trying to keep 1 breakfast going around New Years-or a brunch or lunch in January should my football team make the playoffs. That's always a holiday! They won the super bowl right after my surgery! My 1st day back to work I had to ask for the following day as vacation to attend the parade!
Aug 13, 2019 03:48PM edwards750 wrote:
Thank you. As of now she’s holding her own. Don’t know how long that will be. She’s such a soldier rarely complains and always asks how everyone else is doing. Sorry about your family situation. We have our share of dysfunctional members.
Sep 13, 2019 05:04AM flashlight wrote:
I just saw this post. I usually host both Thanksgiving and Xmas. Somehow last year I did a casual Holiday celebration. This year I just don't feel like it. My brother and his wife want to come and visit next month. I had to say no maybe in the spring. Now I feel guilty.
Sep 13, 2019 05:17AM MountainMia wrote:
Hi flashlight. It's nice to have family visits, but that depends on who they are! and how much energy they suck up. I think the spring sounds perfect, and hopefully they'll get it. But no need to feel guilty. You get to decide how much you can take.
Oct 5, 2019 03:07AM flashlight wrote:
Hi MountainMia, I just realized I never thanked you for your response and to let you know I appreciated your thoughts. I hope all is going well with you. I told my brother maybe next spring and I feel better about that decision. I have started the Livestrong program and it is a work out!! Those zingers everyone talks about really took me by surprise. Good luck with your exercise program. Best wishes. Terry
Oct 5, 2019 10:21AM JCSLibrarian wrote:
I have always enjoyed the Holidays. We have a very small family: DH, two adult sons, one DIL. My siblings live in Texas and none of us want to travel in December. I host Thanksgiving and Christmas for my group. Last year I told everyone at Thanksgiving of my diagnosis. Not a great day. The kids come to the house Christmas Eve for dinner and the next morning for presents and brunch. I want to do this as long as I am able. My DIL does help with some cooking and my DH cleans up. Again, giving this type of tradition up due to illness is like giving up. My family has been very supportive and I love seeing them as often as they will come. Having the small group makes things easier.
Oh! I also buy and wrap all the presents. I enjoy that to a point. LOL. With a bunch of adults, it can be difficult to find things that surprise and please them. I would like to figure out something else to do. This desire has nothing to do with the diagnosis. The kids all work so a trip is difficult. I thought about donations, but would hate to give to the wrong group. Just something else to ponder. Best get on that shopping soon
Oct 5, 2019 01:30PM Betrayal wrote:
As far as donations why can't you ask your children if they won the lottery who would they donate to? Barnes and Noble always has the book donation for children in their stores around Chanukah and Christmas and my children loved to pick out a book they could donate to another child. Literacy is a gift that keeps on giving and many children have never owned a book.
The local mall also had a Christmas tree that had "wishes" from children served by the Salvation Army. Each decoration had an age, gender and size or item request from a needy child. It was always fun for them to search for the perfect gift to fulfill another child's wish and I think taught my young children to be responsible adults. The requests for clothing always broke my heart so we would also search for a small age appropriate non-clothing gift. It is a tradition I hope to now share with my grandchildren.
Oct 6, 2019 08:20AM flashlight wrote:
Hi JCSLibrarian, I'm starting to feel a little bit better about the Holidays and you put it in the right prospective about tradition. My daughter is a teacher and they always have a mitten/wishes tree in the school lobby that we do. My immediate family is small. 2- daughters, one SNL, and one grandson. My youngest daughter just got engaged so plus one !! I try to do themes. In the past I have done sport tickets, car care, spa, Costco membership, coffee pods....every year you are right it gets harder!! My grandson does make it fun he gets so excited. I am glad they want to come and that we will all be together. My daughter has already started talking about Thanksgiving dinner. Best Holiday wishes to you and your family.
Oct 15, 2019 01:11AM MountainMia wrote:
My adult children have chosen to make themselves in charge of both Christmas and Thanksgiving. That might sound good, but it isn't completely. I asked Son to tell us very very soon what days we could come for Thanksgiving, so we can buy tickets for flights if possible, rather than driving 1000 miles each way. But likely it will be so long before we find out that flying won't be an option. Christmas planning isn't making progress, either. I'm trying to be patient but it's a struggle.
Oct 15, 2019 05:49AM flashlight wrote:
MountainMia, I can understand how you feel. To get good days and pricing you have to book now. Xmas dates will sell out fast. My brother lives in Seattle. What he normally does is email me and say hey how would you like company on Thanksgiving?!! We were able to get a fantastic deal for these dates....When my Mom was alive we would ask her to come here from Vermont. She couldn't decide on when to come only when to leave!! I would say Mom we got a fantastic deal on these tickets for you to come down!! Since you already have an open invite look up the flights and see what is going to work best for you. Then say hey we were able to get a fantastic deal on these flights...…..
Oct 15, 2019 06:01AM MountainMia wrote:
flashlight, Daughter-in-law's parents are going, too, and they get first dibs on the dates around Thanksgiving. So FIRST we need to know when they are going. Not great...
Oct 15, 2019 06:10AM Ingerp wrote:
MountainMia I'd definitely say something along the lines of, "These are the dates we're planning on coming. Please let me know by <tonight, tomorrow, end of the week> if they don't work. Otherwise we're buying tickets." That's always what I do when visiting my kids (actually--I buy the tickets and then tell them when I'll be there :-) ), although I also don't stay with them. I prefer my own space so grab an airbnb nearby. (FWIW--I've had my Thanksgiving and Christmas dates locked in since last spring.)
Oct 15, 2019 11:42AM flashlight wrote:
It really shouldn't be this hard!!! That's why the holidays are stressful and why we question what to do!! Hoping MountainMia they let you know sooner than later.
Oct 15, 2019 12:57PM MountainMia wrote:
Thanks for your encouraging words. Unfortunately, DIL is suffering with post-partum depression. It really isn't a choice we get to make. If it were pure selfishness or poor planning, that would be a different matter. We simply can't do it with this situation.
Nov 18, 2019 03:41AM flashlight wrote:
Hi MountainMia, I read your other post where you had surgery. Hope all is well with you. I was thinking of you as Thanksgiving is around the corner. I hope you were able to make your travel plans and that you don't have a long drive. Hopefully your DIL is doing better.
Dec 3, 2019 04:36AM flashlight wrote:
Thanksgiving for me didn't go as planned. My younger daughter had a meltdown and my older daughter was sick. I don't know what is wrong with the men in my family this year!! I wish we could just go to a tropical paradise for Xmas....I can feel the sun on my face and the ocean in my ear.... Back to reality!!
Dec 3, 2019 06:39AM Spookiesmom wrote:
Went well for me. DD was in NYC in the Macy’s parade. DH was invited to dinner with a friend who lives in assisted living facility. 2 gfs and I went to Cracker Barrel for dinner.
I sort of missed the big dinner production at DDs, but this was great. No cooking, arguments, clean up, no stress. I’d like to do it from now on.
And now Christmas is just a few weeks away. Ugh. I’ve ordered a pop up tree, I just don’t have it in me to do my fake 4’ tree. I’ll miss it, but I just can’t. As for the meal, all I can say is hello Publix.
Dec 8, 2019 05:17AM DivineMrsM wrote:
I love the hello Publix meal idea.
I held my last Thanksgiving dinner for the extended family this year. When I started the tradition 25 years ago, we were all that many years younger and a smaller group. Now spouses, kids and age add to the mix. It's too much.
My brother walked in Thanksgiving day all important and announced, '"I have an announcement!" (Who says that?) I said, "I'm getting dinner ready for 20 people. Let's wait till we're all eating and you can tell us," He actually threw a tantrum because I wouldn't make him the center of attention, tried to bully me and offered no help getting dinner ready. Never heard what his announcement was, nor do I care. Will not be speaking to him for...who knows how long. Glad to wrap up that tradition.
I am making Christmas easy, mostly cash and gift cards. Amazon ordering. I gave up baking years ago and simplified my decorating. Not sure how dinner will unfold, but I told dh, I've been doing this for decades, and Christmas always works out, so I'm not worrying about it.
I am in favor of all we can do to lighten our load during the holidays
Dec 8, 2019 07:42AM MountainMia wrote:
Hi Mrs M. Yes, easy Christmas from the gifts standpoint. We have 8 grandchildren, with the youngest 8 months old. The rest range from 21 to 8. While I don't love the gift card idea, it's the only way to go this year.
Besides that, we add $$ all year long to their college accounts, so they aren't short-changed financially!
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