Making Christmas special......????

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Tender Face, Dec 1, 2006.

  1. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    NW England
    Huge pressure for everyone here in different ways and for different reasons to make this Christmas special (or at least bearable) …..

    As well as ‘gifts’ which I know has already been mooted, wonder if people could share ideas about how they intend to ‘celebrate’ Christmas in appropriate ways that is meaningful to the ‘sufferer’ AND balancing the needs of family and friends….

    To share my circumstances … Christmas Day will be at ‘mum’s’ with only me, hubby and son … OK, so me and hubby can cope with being ‘excluded’ from the extended family gatherings and look forward to a bottle of Pinot something or other when we get back home …mum (hopefully) would be happy if we only had beans on toast for Christmas dinner as long as we are there ….. but for my son?????

    I came up with doing a ‘Treasure Hunt’ ….. first did this several years back when said son had first ‘twigged’ that we had no chimney :)rolleyes: ) so I’ve promised I will arrange one at ‘Grandma’s’ (and as none of his peers will be there to see his ‘street-cred’ destroyed he’s ‘up for it’……)

    (Interesting thought occurred to me - and I apologise if it sounds flippant - is that it will make a change ME purposely hiding things for people to find instead of mum doing it unintentionally!!!!! Who knows what might be unearthed along the way - a lot her missing cash hopefully :) )

    Mum has broken my heart by saying ‘Just let me see the presents and then leave me to my TV programmes'…… That can't be what she really wants surely....????

    I thought WE felt isolated….. and how guilty will I feel when I go to hubby’s family on Boxing Day … ‘leaving her to her TV’?????

    Any ideas…..?????

    Thanks, Karen, x
  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    No ideas but thank you SO much for plopping the guilt monster firmly on my shoulders :) My primary problem is that, barring any health disasters, I won't even be there. I was hoping to bring the children over this year, but unfortunately, financial pressures mean that's a no-go

  3. mocha

    mocha Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    Lancs, England
    Please don't feel guilty at Mum wanting to watch TV. It happened to me about 20yrs ago when my mother-in-law wouldn't come to our family party which I put on most Christmas Day's. Father and Sister -in-law still did but when I asked her why she said it was because we didn't have the TV on when all the best programmes were on. I suppose I couldn't blame her really and it helped to ease my guilt.
    Not very good at ideas but I imagine adults would get some fun out of Pass the Parcel especially if you put a joke between each layer. All the Best. Mocha
  4. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    Hiya Karen,
    Last year dad wasn't well and I slept on the floor in our dining room with mum on a bed that friends had carried downstairs for us. My kids and ex MIL returned from their dad's late Christmas Eve, and MIL and I went to Midnight service, having made sure mum was sound asleep. 10am Christmas morning, en masse we went to the family service - boys suffer this once a year, and its quite fun - they always have something that will cause a stir, musical ties, f*rting figure, singing snowmen. Last year my FIL had died suddenly in the May, and there we are Christmas morning, last hymn, my MIL and I in tears, my mum in a wheelchair, and the whole family comforting one another. The Church warden came up to me at the end, gave me a hug, and thanked me - for showing what Christmas was about.
    This year mum will be in the NH Christmas morning, but the rest will be the same. We will dash home from Church, load Christmas presents, playstation, TV, kids and dog into the car and shoot over to my dad's where we will set up home for two or three days. There will be tension, there will be tears. We are hoping to bring mum home for the day - dad's already got her Christmas outfit sorted - and what matters is that we will be together. Dad will worry about whether the meal is 'perfect', I will bite my tongue. We will all eat too much, and when we have taken mum back (or maybe even before) we will get a little tipsy. We will play cards, or a board game. I have no doubt that it is going to be a lot of hard work, that there will be much laughter and many tears - it will not be perfect, but at the end of it all, when I am kn........d, I will know that I have done my best.
    Love Helen
  5. Helena

    Helena Registered User

    May 24, 2006
    After 23 years of having no option but to have my Mother for 2 days over Christmas it will be the most tremendous relief not to endure it this year
    It will be total bliss to watch whatever we like
    Eat whatever we like
    and do whatever we like

    Even if she had stayed in hospital or was in a home I vowed that there was no way i would be including her

    I am aware to many I sound so selfish and unfeeling but after all that she put us through Christmas after Christmas with never a thought for how we felt

    She never bought presents , you were lucky to get a Christmas card
    even my Grandchildren never got a present ..........the only one to benefit from her Scrooge mentality is Gordon Brown and that realy sticks in my throat

    I wish she had gone off on several cruises rather than line the pockets of the Treasury and give Gordon more money to fritter away on the undeserving and all the perks MPs enjoy
  6. Carolann

    Carolann Registered User

    Apr 19, 2006
    Karen try not to feel guilty about leaving mum on Boxing day, I am sure you will have given her a lovely Christmas Day.
    My Christmas will be so different this year - I lost Dad on March 4th and Mum on 21st October. I am dreading Christmas really, miss mum and dad everyday but Christmas makes it that bit more poignant.
    Hope things run smoothly for you.
    Take Care,
  7. Cate

    Cate Registered User

    Jul 2, 2006
    Newport, Gwent
    I now hate the thought of Christmas. The guilt monster is chewing away at me.

    Over the last 31 years I have always had ALL the family come to me from far and wide for the Christmas holiday, but of course equally over the years some of the children have grown up and with families of their own rightly do their own thing.

    However this year is going to be dreadful. Mum now in the NH 3 months, and quite settled. When I brought up the subject of mum coming to my home for the holiday with the nurses, whilst they said it was up to me, they thought it a very bad idea. As she has now settled, and we will have kids, dogs, more people than usual (plus we only moved into this house in the summer, so she doesn't remember it 10 mins after going back to the home) they thought it would really unsettle her, and I have to agree. Whilst she loves to see the children of the family (5 yrs and 18 months), after 10 minutes you can see she has had enough. Gets ratty if lunch isn't on the table by 1:00, and moans (like your mum Karen) if we dont have the t.v. on and play games instead. Last year it was really fraught, and whilst I'm slogging it out over the sprouts one or another of the family are back and forth asking what I can do about mum cos she's etc. etc. etc.

    So, with a very heavy heart we are not going to have her home for Christmas, I cannot tell you how guilty I feel about this, but on the other hand I know it will be a better Christmas for everyone else, me and mum included. However, what we have planned is for all of us to go to the home on Boxing day and have a bit of a do with her there.

    Added to my guilt about mum, my son and his girlfriend bought their own home this year, and he wont be with us on Christmas day, I am trying to be a happy bunny for him, but talk about going to miss him (even though he only lives around the corner), and will be popping in, ITS NOT THE SAME!!

    So no doubt I will be boohooing into the dreaded sprouts because of missing mum, and missing my only child. Quite frankly will be glad to see the back of this year and ruddy Christmas.

    Karen, not much use to you my ramblings. But I do think let your mum get on with her t.v. and carry on with your own thing. Treasure Hunt sounds a fab idea, and if your mum is anything like mine, bingo, no doubt you will hit the jackpot on the cash front.

    We use to play board games, with little mystery wrapped prizes for the winner, the dafter the better, bit like a lucky dip. It depends what your son is into really but there are so many games out there, and as long as his mates dont get wind of it, I'm sure he will have a fab time. Board games have no street cred either.

    PS You could always play Monopoly with the cash you find!!!! Ha Ha
  8. alex

    alex Registered User

    Apr 10, 2006
    To start with i was having one hell of a day today..........then the girls started to put the xmas decs up in the office and i had to leave the room..............i was feeling sorry for myself and i could feel myself filling up!...........what am i gonna be like by christmas eve?

    Normally i'm well sorted by now, decs up, cards done, prezzies wrapped.........this year?...........just can't face it yet!............if Santa was granting would be good to go to bed about 23rd dec.......and wake up about.....ummm........4th jan would be good!.......but i aint that lucky!:rolleyes: i'll put on a face and smile and make sure the family enjoy xmas and i'll save my crying for my pillow............hopefully!

    Sorry Karen, thats not much help to you but i'm sure your mum will just enjoy having you there on xmas day, even if she does not admit it ..........and when you look back in years to come, you'll be glad you spent this time with her.

    Hope it goes well.
    Love Alex x
  9. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    Last Christmas was special for my mother and me.

    We didn't usually spend Christmas together, in fact the last time we'd done so was in 1981 and that was because I was the one who was too ill to leave alone.

    A friend and a cousin brought decorations and put them up (and came back in January to take them down).

    We didn't bother about presents. I'd already given her the beddie bear and he was still in favour.

    She was getting better then. 17th December was when she first started going out to see neighbours after weeks in bed, and taking cards to the postbox. On Christmas Day itself she got dressed without any prompting or assistance, for the first time in two months. She had relearned making cups of tea or coffee and was learning how to microwave.

    The food I'd ordered for Christmas dinner disappeared, but I expect she gave it to one of the carers, they'd just started coming round, (best Christmas present ever!), though she hadn't yet fully understood what they were for. But that didn't matter, I'd filled up the kitchen with food, and she was beginning to eat reasonably.

    We didn't watch any TV as she'd already "given it up", (she made a virtue out of each thing she gave up, as if watching TV or even listening to the radio were immoral), I found I didn't mind as it was just this one "last Christmas in this house".

    We sang carols and read/recited poetry and talked about Christmases past.

    We phoned everyone we could think of, she liked doing that, even if most of them couldn't understand a word she said.

    Her next-door neighbour came round (she was the one who'd looked after her auntie with dementia at home for 23 years) and my mother was reasonably polite to her.

    On Christmas afternoon, when it was nearly dark, she wanted to hang the washing outside, there was snow forecast for the next day. So there was a bit of a strop, but she accepted my promise that we'd put the washing out as soon as the weather improved.

    It was a pity my brother and family weren't there but she thought that was because of the weather.

    The "nice time" wasn't really about anything we had or did, it was really about her getting better. And both of us being determined to make the best of that last Christmas in her house, with me thinking she'd be in a home in a few months and her happily convinced she'd soon be dead.
  10. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    Yes, we tried so hard to get my mother to spend her money on herself, before she got too ill to do so.

    Her next-door neighbour said, she could have spent the last 5 years having a nice time!


  11. mojofilter

    mojofilter Registered User

    May 10, 2006
    It's starting to look like my mother will still be in the assessment unit over Christmas so I'm now gearing up to my first Christmas alone .....

    It's going to be really strange because only 12 months ago my mum was so much better and we had a great Christmas together.

    So is life :confused:

  12. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    NW England
    THAT, Helen, was probably what I was searching for ..... and I recognise that for me, it will be lot nearer perfect than for many others here ....

    I guess it's that 100% of the people 100% of the time stuff .... if I accept that we will have a few hours with some fun, some fine food ... and then leave mum to what she feels she wants and enjoy some rare precious time doing what WE like as a family before the 'big jamboree' on Boxing Day ... it's actually OK.....

    (And I'll be driving Boxing Day and having no more than a sniff of diet Pepsi as I'm at work the day after so figure no-one will miss me if I sneak out of a 'houseful' for an hour and go and have a 'stuffing butty' with her ..... )

    All of you ... none of what you say is rambling to me .... I love how you all share your own circumstances - helps me to get things into some perspective..... and my heart goes out to those who have a far tougher time than me to face ....

    Helena, the bitter irony of this Christmas for me is that after 18 years with hubby it has always been EXPECTED that we would spend Christmas Day with mum (and previously dad) ... my in-laws never got a look-in and once my MIL made it quite clear she felt her son had been 'stolen' from her...... this year we are voluntarily trying to do anything to please my mum and she doesn't seem to want it?????:(

    Jennifer, I'm sorry about the guilt monster - could you see it as an 'early' Christmas gift from me????:eek: :)

    I guess that was the essence of my thoughts behind this thread.... it's a question of what we can/can't do/would want to do in ideal circumstances - but then we're hardly any of us in an 'ideal' are we?

    Love to everyone, Karen, x
  13. Cate

    Cate Registered User

    Jul 2, 2006
    Newport, Gwent
    Hiya Deborah

    Went through the same thing with my mum. Did the usual flogging myself over the turkey and sprouts for the whole family, in laws, out laws, the lot.

    Took mum home the day after Boxing Day. Struggled into her apartment like a Sherpa following behind her with all her pressies and baggage, made her a cuppa, then she asked me 'so when's Christmas'. Didn't know whether to laugh or cry, so decided a good old cry on the drive home, did me the world of good.

    Then it was back home to make a turkey curry!! Some things never change.

  14. Lonestray

    Lonestray Registered User

    Aug 3, 2006

    This will be our fourth Christmas at this house since removing Jean from a NH. I recall the first one, I felt so alone and down then decided to dress her. She had been bedridden in the NH with bed sores by then had made good recovery since 1 April '03. Once dressed I thought 'why not lift her into the w/chair' once in, my hands were shaking with excitment as I wrapped her up, at the thought of taking her for a stroll. That walk made my day. This year I'm dreading as each day must be the same, up at five, and watch the clock to keep up with washing dressing feeding etc. I allow 4hrs a day for her meals, then lay her down for her nap between meals.
    Somehow I'll have to get cards for her family up North, and presents for our son & daughter, 9 G'children and 4 great G'children. I dread receiving presents, it would be nicer if one of them offered to do the housework, cooking or ironing.
    Sorry I shouldn't be moaning others are far worse off than I, I'll keep thinking of them and be thankful for what I got. God bless Padraig
  15. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006

    Let me let you into a little secret - you don't "have" to do any of those things (cards, presents etc). Now I know the habits of a lifetime are hard to break, but in this instance, you'd be justified. It's been 5 years since I sent a christmas card, and the sky has yet to fall. If you really, really WANT to send something to people, shop online. Otherwise, just don't. Apart from anything else, those people should be doing things for you, not the other way around, and frankly, if you don't send them anything, maybe that'll make them realise that you can't "do it all" (although I know you do).

  16. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    I can understand those with young children, wanting to make it a lovely day, Father Christmas and all that.

    Now am older and my children older I think in the back of my mind god I should of became a Jehovah witness years ago , and be done with all this Christmas propaganda :D

    One day of guilt frustration in trying to please every one, but your self. :rolleyes:
  17. alex

    alex Registered User

    Apr 10, 2006
    #17 alex, Dec 3, 2006
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2006
    Hi Margarita

    Your so right, i think we got lost along the way somewhere when it comes to christmas, all due to pressure to please!........ wouldn't it be nice if we all went back to the true meaning of christmas, sharing food and good company with the people we love...........but unfortunately, its never gonna happen, it just goes to show that progress isn't always for the best!

    I think it would make it special if we all made our own gifts, but where would we find the time?.........i started to make my little grandaughter a victorian dolls house when she was born almost 3 years ago and although its 4 floors, i'm still no where near finishing it!:eek:

    Love Alex x
  18. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    NW England
    Jennifer - if the sky falls in this year it's all my fault ......:) decided NOT to send greetings to those people who haven't been bothered to pick up the phone to mum or me for more than six months (so that got quite a few struck off the list:D )

    Padraig, I'm quite looking forward to some reaction ..... IF people bother to ask ... I'll get the chance to explain ....... mum doesn't need cards and gifts, but company and care ...... shame on them, they don't see it that way.....

    My wish for Christmas is that we get some snow in the NW ... wrap mum up, build a snowman in the garden and show everyone just what I can do with sprouts and carrots!!!!!!:D

    Much love, Karen, x
  19. mel

    mel Registered User

    Apr 30, 2006
    funny you should mention cards Karen.....yesterday I decided to do the cards.....I started with mums(I've got her address book)....and there were loads to send.......I ended up really grumpy because hardly any of these people have been bothered to find out how mum has been not to mention how she settled in with us when she moved in with us in April.......
  20. Nell

    Nell Registered User

    Aug 9, 2005

    My darling husband, who has a dry sense of humour, asked me yesterday what I had planned for the day, to which I replied "I must finish my Christmas shopping. Don't ask how long I'll be - I've got HEAPS to do!"

    "Ahhh" he replied "Yes, I know. You have to 'shop, shop, shop for Jesus'!!"

    It does seem ludicrous that we feel compelled to celebrate in this way, doesn't it??

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