1. Champers

    Champers Registered User

    Jan 3, 2019
    189
    Selfishly, I’m determined that this year I WILL enjoy Christmas. The last few years I’ve run myself ragged trying to either appease Mother and MIL or try to ensure that they’re having a good time - at the detriment of my own, my husband’s and my adult children’s enjoyment. I’ve been so grumpy and fed up in the past with the ‘grannies’ that the rest of the family have all suffered.

    Last Christmas Eve, the four of us drove two hours up to my mother’s with MIL in the car - who moaned all the way - to ensure my mother didn’t miss out. I took a turkey crown and all the trimmings with me and cooked the whole roast from scratch at mother’s. MIL grizzled because she didn’t want to wait for her lunch and kept asking how much longer it was going to take as she was hungry! My mother announced that she didn’t want anything to eat as she wasn’t hungry and I burst into tears because I’d made all the effort to ensure the both of them had some sort of festivity and clearly, I needn’t have bothered.

    This year they’re both in the same CH. We’ll visit in the morning and once we’ve done that, the four of us plus other halves will relax, play silly games, drink as much as we want to (because for once, no one needs to drive them home) watch whatever we want and be totally indulgent. The stress of catering for and entertaining the pair of them over many years - even before dementia - is over and I’m determined I shall make the most of it.
     
  2. TNJJ

    TNJJ Registered User

    May 7, 2019
    806
    Female
    cornwall
    Do you remember the sparkly tops in the late 70/80's? Mine was silver sparkles with a diagonal triangle across the silver..I thought I was the bees :Dknees.Plus my hair was curly and wild...:p..Crystal tips&Alistair springs to mind.
     
  3. Susan11

    Susan11 Registered User

    Nov 18, 2018
    1,692

    Well done. Sounds like you'll have a great day. I did the same...taking everything up to my parents for Christmas lunch and my daughter coming up on the train but my parents really appreciated it and we had a good time. So well worth it.
     
  4. TNJJ

    TNJJ Registered User

    May 7, 2019
    806
    Female
    cornwall
    It is just so wearing trying to be everything to everyone..I'm home this year..
     
  5. Izzy

    Izzy Volunteer Moderator

    Aug 31, 2003
    59,948
    Female
    Dundee
    This will be my 4th Christmas without my husband. Our 41st anniversary would have been on 29th December. I’ve just given myself a talking to and have invited 7 friends for dinner on 20th December. Now I have a reason to put my tree up.
     
  6. DoingthebestIcan

    DoingthebestIcan New member

    Nov 13, 2019
    9
    Do what you can manage. Nobody literally nobody else can dictate what you do! Simple food - its a day. If you dont want a Christmas dinner then have whatever works for you. Who else needs to know? Nobody literally nobody! If you want or don’t want decorations thats fine too. Christmas isn’t about media or social media its a few days which people can overspend on , get really silly and pretend everything is amazing. 99% of that is wishful thinking and untrue ! Take care.
     
  7. Dutchman

    Dutchman Registered User

    May 26, 2017
    443
    Male
    Devon
    This Christmas is the first one with my darling wife in the home. I’m decided to be there in the care home Christmas Day and Boxing Day as who knows how things will be next year.

    She used to love Christmas time but last year while she was still at home all she really did was fall asleep on the sofa and go to bed at 18.00. Boxing Day the same. I’m not bothered about decorations or a tree as I don’t see the point. Anyway the care home have made a lovely tree already.
     
  8. DesperateofDevon

    DesperateofDevon Registered User

    Jul 7, 2019
    1,968
    I’m liking your thinking! X
     
  9. DesperateofDevon

    DesperateofDevon Registered User

    Jul 7, 2019
    1,968
    Go Izzy!
    I’m so glad you will have company & some fun x
     
  10. DesperateofDevon

    DesperateofDevon Registered User

    Jul 7, 2019
    1,968
    Actually I was thinking of driving the 2 & 1/2 hours to Mums & cooking dinner while our daughter worked at the local restaurant, but maybe I will do that on Christmas Eve! Or Boxing Day! The thought of Mum being on her own doesn’t bare thought - but as she truly dislikes Christmas Day - seriously absolutely hates it always has even when I was a child! Maybe I will indulge myself & OH

    especially as he only has Christmas Day & Boxing Day off!!!
     
  11. Susan11

    Susan11 Registered User

    Nov 18, 2018
    1,692
    I don't think it matters which actual day you celebrate on. My daughter is coming over on Boxing Day but as far as I'm concerned it will be "Christmas Day " as soon as she walks through the door. You can have "Christmas Day" with your Mum one day and with your husband on another day. Does that make sense?
     
  12. Sarasa

    Sarasa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2018
    633
    Last Christmas mum invited herself to my brother’s in August and spent the next few months fretting as to whether it was going to happen or what we’d do when it did. She said she had a good time but the rest of us, brother sister in law nine year old nephew sil’s sister, my husband, adult son and me were worn out. Mum had a total melt down as she thought we were deliberately freezing her, wouldn’t let others get a word in edge ways and hated most things we suggested she do. This year she is in a care home and I can’t visit Christmas Day. I’ll see her a few times round and about the day and sister in law nephew and my family will take her to a local hotel for lunch in a day yet to be arranged. My brother is seriously ill and has been in hospital for most of the last seven months. He’s due to have an operation just before Christmas but won’t be out in time to join us. Fortunately mum seems to have more or less forgotten him.
    I’ll be spending Christmas with my family at my mother in laws . She also has dementia but is much easier to deal with than my mum. She’ll be happy helping to chop vegetables for lunch.
    One of these days I’ll have Christmas in my own pretty Victorian cottage, but as others have said we’ll make one day of the holiday our ‘Christmas’
     
  13. DesperateofDevon

    DesperateofDevon Registered User

    Jul 7, 2019
    1,968
    So tears ( from me!) this morning & a honest conversation with OH!
    Think it’s Boxing Day to travel etc! decision made !
     
  14. Emac

    Emac Registered User

    Mar 2, 2013
    180
    Love this, and I quite agree life is miserable enough without giving up on the fun altogether! Having a person with dementia around the decorations is like having a giant toddler or a cat...you just have to work around it. I lost my Dad in October...to cancer not dementia and my first instinct was to do nothing for Christmas no cards no tree no lights no presents just ignore the ***** day apart from visiting Mum my PWD in her care home. But I am over that now. I won’t be hosting family to a big Christmas night party but will still do everything else and do my best to enjoy what I can among the sadness. Have a good day whatever you decide to do!
     
  15. Andrew_McP

    Andrew_McP Registered User

    Mar 2, 2016
    230
    Male
    South Northwest
    I've spent most of my life living on my own, so a quiet Christmas isn't something that's ever scared me. I had beans on toast one year, just because I could. :) But what had I proved? That I can break convention and ignore a perfectly good excuse to try and break the daily grind of my normal routine? Whoop-de-whoop; yay me! You show 'em, Scrooge!

    Ok, I was working in retail at the time and that sucks the Christmas out of you by about November 25th, let alone December 25th! All I usually wanted to do was sleep. But I'd nearly always cross the country to get back to Mum, because I know she always missed a "big" family Christmas.

    Not that our family had ever been particularly close, but her nest was definitely rather empty. Usually it was just me and her or maybe one of the others. But about seven years ago life was tough at work and I had the opportunity to earn a lot of overtime over the festive period (before the traditional New Year overtime ban and profit panic), so I left her on her own. I still feel bad about that. She said it was fine, but... She cried on Christmas Day and there was no public transport for me to change my mind via. There were only a couple more normal Christmases left for her after that.

    You never know what's coming next, and you never get today back again. Christmas can be the most miserable time of year, full of melancholic echoes of lost lives and unfulfilled dreams. But that's the same for every generation. Our parents missed the Christmases they had, but it didn't stop (most of) them trying to recreate it for us.

    New Christmas traditions for families or even isolated individuals have to start somewhere. So I now celebrate the Winter Solstice with a festival of lights, a glass of port, and the vague hope that the lights will lead Mum out of the dementia fog for long enough to briefly remember what it's all about.

    I don't expect it to happen. But sometimes I'll spot someone walking their dog, or children past the front garden and they'll stop to smile at the lights. It's not a fancy display; I just thread loads of lights through the various evergreen bushes and if I'm lucky it can look rather twinkly and random and secret-grottoey. If I'm not lucky it can look like a complete eyesore, but I can get away with that, because most folk round here have watched Mum's decline as we walk the dog over the last five years. Dementia can be a 'get out of jail free' card, sometimes. :)

    One of the few good things about Mum's dementia is that she no longer insists we play Monopoly or Scrabble. I used to hate it back then. Now I'd give my right arm to have one last game with her. And now I've gone and made myself cry. Soft git. It's not even Christmas Eve and I'm already letting the ghost of Christmas Past out of its cage.

    Back in yer box, vile spirit! I'm supposed to be advocating festivity, not illustrating what a dangerous game we play when we dig the decs out of the loft and dust off our Christmas emotions.

    Speaking of spirits, I still have a bit of last year's port left. Maybe it's time to finish it off and start looking forward to opening the next one. Perks up the gravy a treat even if it's not a great port. One of these years I'll buy a bottle of everything and find out which ones I like best, but then I'd have to make an awful lot of gravy. Or put Mum in respite for January while the hangover wears off.

    Anyway, there was a point to this post when I started off. I think it was just to illustrate that I know a thing or two about Bah Humbug! I used to throw Christmas cards from colleagues straight in the recycling. I'd scowl at customers who'd nick the pickles off the shelf two seconds after I'd put them out for the fifth time that night. I'd relish in schadenfreude when we ran out of decent Christmas puddings, cranberry sauce, or bisto turkey gravy two days before Christmas... we'd been selling them since what felt like Easter, how could folk have not bothered buying them til now? If the Grinch gave medals I'd have had a chest like a Chelsea Pensioner!

    But there are no medals being handed out for being grumpy or hiding in the dark. Yes, life can be a grinding, miserable, disappointing trial. Yes, there are times when we're simply not capable of lifting ourselves out of the dementia mire. But if one person reads this thread and thinks... oh, go on, I'll get the tree out. Or plugs in a little string of lights. Or buys themselves a bottle of port (I'm open to suggestions for good ones!) Or simply wishes a miserable-looking stranger Merry Christmas when the time comes, then these posts will have been worth it.

    However I reserve my right to change my mind at the drop of a hat and cancel Christmas. Santa left me a big red button last year and said I could hit it any time I wanted, because he(she/they) fancies a year off. The button is connected to a remote pair of castrating irons up at the North Pole, and Rudolph can't fly without his magic testicles. So don't p*ss me off you lot, or I'm cancelling Christmas for EVERYONE.

    Right, where's that port.... Hang on, I appear to have finished it already. Explains a lot.
     
  16. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    5,325
    Female
    Chester
    @Andrew_McP you are a very good wordsmith - as has been often said, you should write a book.

    Mum always made a big thing of Christmas, within her budget, and birthdays, and as we all had birthdays between mid Feb and early May we all had nice (homecooked - no budget for going out) meals for our half birthdays as well. She liked to have celebrations throughout the year, as something to look forward to. Mum was born in 1930, evacuated for much of the war, from the East End, so grew up in what would be considered abject poverty now, so even though we weren't well off in the 70s she liked to make things special. My OH was from a different background, not much was made of Christmas and even less of birthdays, one year when he was about 7 he said he didn't believe in father christmas and got no presents, his best Christmas present ever was actually from the cleaner, who spent more on him than his parents, so whilst he does like to make a fuss of Christmas it has taken a while for him to catch up with my enthusiasm, shared with my mum.
     
  17. silver'lantern

    silver'lantern Registered User

    Apr 23, 2019
    162
    Female
    oh @Andrew_McP i look forward to seeing your posts whatever the subject. your view on the ways of the (dementia) world we live in make me smile. you have a certain way with words that are easy to read and relate to. .....a good read
     
  18. DesperateofDevon

    DesperateofDevon Registered User

    Jul 7, 2019
    1,968
    :D:D:D
    You’ve made me smile @ giggle first thing! love the honesty & humour !

    Ps: can I recommend Lidl Port - really good& they do a selection before Christmas

    Pps

    please leave Rudolf's bits intact !
     
  19. Andrew_McP

    Andrew_McP Registered User

    Mar 2, 2016
    230
    Male
    South Northwest
    We're a Lidl-free town for the time being, but I've got my eye on Aldi. Their posh Bailey's-a-like is great and so is the chocolatey version... which is great on a decent vanilla ice cream.

    Speaking of which... I don't have a lot of time for TV cheffery (James Martin is an exception because he cooks 'proper food' most of the time) but I saw someone put mincemeat in good vanilla ice cream last year; just stir it in, then refreeze. And it really is a rather tasty, Christmassy alternative to Christmas pud. I love a Christmas pud (always with rum sauce with enough rum in it that it's a bit beige, thanks to Mum, none of your fancy brandy butter or drizzled cream) but rarely fancy it after stuffing myself with Christmas dinner. Mincemeat icecream with a bit of fake Bailey's ALWAYS fits in though.

    Grief, it's only 16th November. It's way too early to be having this discussion. Unless.... Mmm... practice Christmas on Nov 25th? I have mincemeat bought for 30p in January, just need the icecream and the Bailey's. But I like to look forward to these kind of treats, so maybe I'll be patient. My waistline will thank me.
     
  20. silver'lantern

    silver'lantern Registered User

    Apr 23, 2019
    162
    Female
    yes i think it always nice to keep some things special. this seems to be lost a lot of the time now as everything is so freely available most of the year round! hard to find special sometimes
     

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