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5 Ways to Make the Holidays Merry

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Well, I am 71.5 years old. Suffering from OA my hands hurt. But I do like having the family around. Personally, I miss having them around on the Holidays. We did not cook Thanksgiving dinner this year, but we were not invited to any of my other sibling homes for Thanksgiving. Its funny we all live within 50 miles of each other except one sister who lives in Canada.

This is easy, make Holidays merry? Don't celebrate them.

I have spent the last 20 plus years preparing and cooking Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. My fault is I am so picky about food preparations, it has to be perfect. I am a picky male.
I came up with a way to make it simple, I started today making some of the food ahead of time. I learned this from my early days when I worked in restaurants. I made the dressing today and sweet potato casserole and cooked it ahead of time. I take the turkey and split it down the back and butterfly the bird, it cooks much quicker. I will cook it in my big smoker outside. I will make the yeast rolls on the day before Christmas Eve. We have dinner on Christmas Eve so all I will need to do that day is make a salad, and I will make cranberry sauce the day before.
I think the most stressful part is cleaning up, My wife and sister-in-law help, but we will be using festive paper plates. This is about the only time I see my grandsons and granddaughter. Even though they all live within a few miles of my home; they have their agenda, which doesn't include Mimi and Papa. I know they will eat, grab their Christmas presents and run.
I so enjoy cooking and feeding the family, but I told them this year was it. This would be the last Christmas dinner I prepare. At almost 70 it is much harder to do than it was 20 years ago.

All these stress and pressure may take toll on the caregiver's personal life, it is always important for the caregiver to be healthy in mind and in body to be able to carry out his/her duties. Taking a break is one of the best ways to reduce stress, whether you are a hired caregiver or caring for a family member, you can organize a party with fellow caregivers and long term care recipient so you can shy away from the stress, organize a cool and unique party that you will enjoy, that way you can avoid being overwhelmed of all the tasks and duties of being a care giver.

Spreading holiday prep throughout the year. Buy your xmas / holiday cards a day or two after this Christmas (they are 50+% off) and then put return address labels and address them over the course of the year. Hint: on stressful days over the coure of the year, it will pick up your spirits to take a moment away from caregiving. Start an update letter and save it, add a sentence or paragraph or two over the year AS you are going through the news (less to remember in December). Gifts: Make a list that way you can go to specific departments in stroes and not spend hours wandering aimlessly. As you shop for groceries every month, take a 1/2 hour side trip and pick up one gift at a time - this will also lift your spirits as will wrapping throughout the year. Cookies/Cakes: Bake them and freeze them in. With fresh ingredients they hold up surprisingly well in the freezer. Decorations: When you put them away this year, store them in boxes/bags and label them for each area of the house: living room shelf, banister etc. Will make unpacking and organizing easier and that way you can decorate one room per day, starting in November, next year... these tips are my holiday survival guide -- allows me to meet all my social plans of cards and gifts to others (and enjoy giving in the process), go to parties to unwind and make a terrific Christmas for my parents each year. Hope this helps -- it did for me and I am an only child and caregiver to two parents - one with dementia and a plethera of medical problems and one with full Alzheimer's. It really works. Happy Holidays from now on fellow caregivers.

There were 21 people here for the annual latke party. At long last the kids were old enough to make a lot less of a mess. In any case, I am fortunate that my sister's in-laws clean up after just on their own instinct. Wow. There was only a little left for me to do this year.

:)

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We are doing stripped down and barley conscious here...between my ankle and my dogs health and grandpa and mom quitting her job and taking early retirement......This is not gonna be a celebration...maybe just grateful it isn't any worse than it already is...yet...Mom snapped at him for trying to get dressed in the dark, you know to save electricity and such and risking a fall that would just be one more thing on a pile of too much already...Christmas 10, really can't go by soon enough. Glad I got all my minimal shopping done last month...I hope every one has a Blessed and Wonderful Holiday Season, what ever it brings or takes away.PEACE.