Saturday, December 3, 2011

Jing-a-ling, Are You Listening? Pace Yourselves, People. The Happy Holidays are Here.

Thanksgiving came and went. On Facebook, many people uploaded pictures of their tables decorated in the traditional holiday style. Beautiful! In the caption, below, the same people complained about how their multiple sclerosis kicked in from all the stress surrounding the preparation for the big day.

Let’s look at this, shall we?

Each of us with MS, or other autoimmune diseases, know full well how stress plays a huge role in exacerbating our condition. But the role of host on the holidays is something we take seriously. This year I was fortunate to be a guest and I brought the pies. Yes, they were store-bought pies. I don’t bake.
Here’s the scenario: we start three days in advance.

Day one: cleaning the house and setting the table. Perhaps we have help, but no one in the family sees dust and dirt like we do. We set the table, with our good china, crystal and silverware (which no one under 12 is allowed to handle), and then decorate the table to reflect the holiday. Thaw that turkey. Then we put our feet up and watch a television show. We earned that.
Day Two: Shopping for the perishable food and preparing certain dishes. The cranberries are served cold, the potatoes can be peeled and kept in water, the stuffing can be made, etc. Now, put your feet up and read a book.

Day Three: T-DAY! Depending on the size of the turkey, you get up at an ungodly hour, stuff that baby, shove it in the oven, and now the fun begins. The remainder of the food has to be prepared. With hope you’ll have help around the house, but they’re probably still asleep. Drinks are set out. You are working furiously, because you know well-meaning guests always arrive too early. Already you begin to feel an ache in your shoulder, your legs are starting to feel spastic, and a headche is settling in over your left eye. But, it’s the holidays, and you want everything just perfect.
Doorbell rings and the first guest arrives (early), with a nice bottle of wine (didn’t you ask her to bring a dessert? Oh my.) The canap├ęs come out, because you have to feed people while they wait to eat a huge, overly-ample meal. When everyone has arrived, you sit down to a wonderful meal.

Two hours later, the teenagers are sprawled out on the floor fast asleep, the elderly are napping in the lounge chairs, the little children are running around with excess energy, and you, with help, are cleaning up and putting away the dishes.

You say goodbye to your guests. Put your feet up and they stay up for the next two days. Most of you are exhausted and have exacerbated your MS in one way or another. It’s a good thing you have leftovers.

That was Thanksgiving! We have another holiday or two coming, people. You must pace yourself. I love the holidays, but I love feeling good more. If given the choice, I much prefer to attend a party than to host one. It didn’t used to be that way. I was the hostess in the neighborhood. But my body has given me too many warnings, too many times. “Knock it off! You are hurting me! What are you doing to me?” I started listening to me. I’m not saying don’t host a party anymore, just take it easy on yourself. Delegate jobs. Delegate foods for people to bring. Use paper plates (You heard me). Three years ago I hosted the Turkey Day meal for 18. I don’t have china settings for 18. So, I bought lovely themed paper plates. NO ONE CARED! And, it’s okay if there’s a little dirt around. Trust me, people will understand. Go easy on yourself. You are only hurting yourself.

So, here comes Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve. Please, please, please, people, remember to pace yourself. Have a wonderful, healthy and Happy New Year.

1 comment:

  1. "If given the choice, I much prefer to attend a party than to host one."--Know what you mean.

    Enjoy the holiday season!