Christmas as easy as possible (ill / disabled)(21 Posts)
That's it really, how can I make Christmas as easy as possible physically (& financially not going crazy), as I'm seriously ill and it was bloody awful last year!
I get to carry the burden of 'doing Christmas' for my lovely son (7yrs), and my (less lovely I'm afraid!) mother who is very infirm these days.
I'm doing it for my sons sake but I can't do what I attempted last year as it:
A. Made me horribly grumpy
B. I ended up scrapeing by doing the hard work and missing out on the loveliness
C. I over did it so much I was only just feeling better by march, which is far too long to sacrifice health and basic functioning for!
D. I end up loathing my mother!
Sooo, looking for any and every short cut, low effort and low movement-wise, in order to survive it this year, and more than that, to maybe actually enjoy bits of it!
I'm very low contact w my mother, the exception being Xmas. It would be a relief not to see her, but I also feel I can't do that as she has no one else and is genuinely a lot less capable now. She used to pretend to be like that to manipulate my father to tend to her and her alone. but horribly ironically she did it for it so long she's become incapable of functioning and it's just a question of time before she will have a fall and go into a home.
Rest of family is dead or scarpered (stbxh), so Xmas is a very sad time. My dad died on New Year's Day, my sister died a few days into Jan. So, tense time of year.
Trying to give my son a sense of a family as we don't have anyone except each other and her.
Since my dad died my mother has become very frail and incapable of doing much, think functioning as someone 85+ yrs, not her 70yrs old. She can't walk very far at all, but has no aids to get around beyond a stick.
So she expects to arrive and do nothing.
Last year I employed my own carers to care for her, and it was a full time job then. I'm too ill to cope tbh but I have a feeling time is short to build memories for DS so I want to try and do something, somehow.
She's said she wants to stay at a local hotel this year (to be helpful and because they have more comfortable beds). Great, except she can't walk to our flat, when asked about that it transpires she expects me to organize taxis for her each way, all the time she's staying here! To go 300m (or less?), on Xmas day especially will be a massive challenge! Suspect that's not going to happen really is it?!
Also I find it like a pressure cooker when trapped in confined spaces with my mother, especially when I'm running myself ragged and desperate. Was good last year as managed to get a carer with a car to drive us to a panto on Boxing Day, which really helped ease the tension & was nice for everyone. But if my mother is just ensconced on the sofa it's big pressure cooker time. Lovely carer has other commitments this Xmas so won't be able to repeat.
So I need to come up with a better plan before any plans become firm... hence the thread! Any ideas big or small welcome... (pleading look!)
I do have some help usually, due to me being ill all the time, but it tends to be less around Xmas period, so am already surviving on less than normal. But I could hopefully get help prepping things on 23rd & a bit of the 24th, then nowt on Xmas day & probably the same on Boxing Day. Then some help again with it stopping on NYday but back on the 2nd like normal again.
I've already come up with a few idea, but not sure if they good ideas?!
Usual Xmas stay (23-27th)
- Not doing Christmas dinner on Christmas Day, but either on Xmas eve or Boxing Day?
- But what to eat on Xmas day instead? Something that's about the same level of heating up a microwave meal!
- all assuming I can solve taxi issue?!
Having a 1st Xmas and 2nd Xmas?
- moving Xmas with my mother until a few days later? So me & DS have a little Xmas just ourselves, and then a rerun including my mother either just before or just after New Years?
- she comes by trains so would need to ensure trains are working properly and not run into railway works that mess up Xmas travel?
Xmas day at a hotel?
- would it be easier to do Xmas day by going to eat out at a posh (ish) hotel and assuming taxi would come for a longer trip? Then could I just sit there and eat then move into the hotel lounge and sit some more whilst other people look after her? But would DS be bored stiff?
Xmas stay over in a hotel?
- Sod the money and find a hotel to stay on for all of us Xmas eve, Xmas day and go home Boxing Day?
- I'd be able to go up and rest lying down which would be good, but DS might be too young to entertain himself whilst away from home...
- up side I'd have to stay relatively close to home so helpers could help us get there etc, and how hide presents to miraculously appear in the morning?
- was looking at staying over at Alton towers as they do a whole package including a panto style performance so DS would love it & less oppressive when it's not me being stared expectantly by both mother & DS whilst trapped in a isolation together! BUT way too far from home and wouldn't be able to have any care in place which I'd need to get through the trip... anything closer to London?
No practical suggestions other than Legoland hotel (Windsor)? Closer to London than Alton Towers. Lots of hotels have extensive Christmas programmes, the Grove in Watford is lovely, expect MNers will be along with more suggestions.
Are there any charities that can help? Thinking that someone on their own on Christmas Day might welcome a bit of unofficial taxiing?
And for you OP, trying to make Christmas right for 2generations when you are in need of help and support yourself
Thanks Ronnie, you get a medal for reading through my waffle!
I meant to edit and cut out all the repeating paragraphs, of which there were many!
I'll look at Legoland
Any hotels that would do doing some things to entertain young ones, so I could flump out whilst DD gets a high point of the day, rather than the all too usual 'hush sweetie, do x or x (quiet & staid activities on his own) whilst mummy has a little rest'... he must dread that poor love
I would stay at home but then I find that more relaxing. Think about starting some new traditions will be easier to take forward if your needs increase for example. So yes Christmas dinner on Christmas eve sounds lovely (and actually very traditional if you're German). Buy everything ready prepped, I know it costs more than doing it yourself but is much cheaper than a hotel meal. At age 7 your son would be able to lay the table and be in charge of the crackers! On Christmas day I know some families who always have an Indian takeaway. (Even easier than a microwave meal) choose your favourite and find one that is open. For somewhere to go have a look at what smaller theatres are doing, cheaper than big pantos but in my experience nicer. (I don't live near London so no recommendations sorry ). Taxis won't be cheap but might just have to be used. Would Uber be cheaper and easier? I'm trying to think of other entertainment ideas but obviously don't know how much you or your mum can manage in a day. Could you find a Santa thing like a Santa special on a steam train?
Here's the Time Out guide to hotels in London for Christmas. Other tabs for alternative Christmas activities https://www.timeout.com/london/hotels/best-hotels-for-christmas
Could you rent or borrow a wheelchair for her?
Would DS be able to push it if you can't ?
Does the hotel she plans to stay at do any food, or is there a restaurant nearby?
Ooh, just had another thought. How about getting a chef to come and cook Christmas dinner at your house? Expensive but less so than eating out or a hotel. A friend who did this said it was brilliant, a lot of young chefs would rather have some cash in hand than be bored on the day.
Have you considered Butlins or similar? Probably extortionately expensive but it would be very disabled and kid friendly, your meals could be included and it would be decorated nicely so you wouldn't have to do anything like that either.
Might not be at all practical or at all your thing - but have you thought of getting an au pair/workaway person? - Christmas day with your family in exchange for cooking, wheelchair pushing to transport your mum.
Re your Mother. Could you have her assessed for needs beforehand by an OT? They may well offer her a wheelchair. Sometimes the loaned wheelchairs are large and heavy.
If so, and she stays at a hotel about 300m away, could you arrange beforehand to pay one of the hotel staff to wheel her between the hotel and your flat, then take her back at pre-arranged times?
That way, you could decide exactly what times she would be at yours and it should lessen the pressure cooker effect on you.
If you're thinking of providing any food, buy pre-prepared which just needs preferably microwaving, or make your own, doing a little bit when you can, starting now and freeze it until you need it over xmas.
i would check the possibility and price of getting taxis / uber to travel 300m on Xmas eve/ day and Boxing Day. If it's extortionate or you can't get any then tell your mum she will have to come 27, 28 and 29. Or over new year. Find out what dates she will be coming before you start making plans as you can plan all you want but if you cannot get her to your house on Xmas day then it's a waste of time having her stay over the actual day.
I would buy all sons presents from Amazon, toys r us , Asda, tesco etc and get them delivered. Get wrapping paper delivered too. If you can wrap them yourself great , if not is there a teenage girl nearby who would wrap your presents one evening for a tenner?
I would plan every meal. Order food from M& S, or Waitrose.
I would get a turkey breast for Xmas eve. Buy a veg selection too that you just bung in oven or microwave and something delicious for pudding. Have ' a table present' each- sort of starting Christmas. And crackers Xmas eve and Xmas day!
Xmas day - order a small cooked ham. Serve cold with turkey and chips. M& s do some cracking fresh and frozen ones. Some pickles. And another cracking pudding. Or get your son to pick. I was very ill at Christmas three years ago when my daughter was 7. Hubby had to cancel the meat order on 22 Dec as I was still in hospital. Got out on Xmas eve. He had cocked up the tesco order. We had a cooked ham, pizza(!) , hummous, half baked bread served hot from the oven, pate and cheese. Daughter bloody loved it much more than having to sit down for a Full Xmas dinner. In fact, we are doing something more like you this year. We both have family in Europe so are quite used to having the main meal in Xmas eve.
Boxing Day is a much cheaper day to eat out, so I would go out for meal and may be combine with Panto. Sandwiches for lunch/ tea depending on when you eat out.
Your son is a lovely age - he will want to be a home for Christmas. If it's just you and him have a ( new) pajama day on Christmas Day. And eat selection box for breakfast!
Get a nice lasagne and garlic bread in the freezer, or chicken Kiev, whatever you two like eating. Make it easy on your self.
Get some nice sausages and some fresh mash , which freezes well too. If were you I wouldn't be peeling anything.
Make sure you have plenty of freezer room before Xmas.
Buy some fresh gravys and freeze them.
Get some boxes of the nibble canapé type stuff in too.
I wouldn't do Christmas in a hotel. This might be the last year your son believes so enjoy it at Home. That is where he will want to be with his toys and telly and his own bed and not surrounded by lots of people saying shush and having to be on his best behaviour.
Even if places like Lego land do do Xmas then it will be prohibitively expensive and personally I would prefer to spend the money on my child/ save some.
I hope you have a lovely time though whatever you decide to do.
Make lists, be organised and break the wrapping/ shopping down into manageable chunks.
If you find it difficult to write cards the Studio24 do personalised cards at a very reasonable price.
I may return to this thread to add extra ideas as they come to me!
Could you speak to local charities or church about getting a volunteer to come and help at Christmas? There are lots of people who want to volunteer or avoid Christmas for their own reasons, but it might be useful to have someone who can vet them for you. You could even put up a sign in the local shop but ask a priest/vicar to help you interview.
In terms of dinner, you can buy individual microwaveable meals, including turkey and ham dinners. 4 minutes each in the microwave and dinner is done.
Gifts can be bought online and you can select to have them wrapped.
On Christmas Day itself you could watch some Christmassy movies together. Read Christmassy books together with your son, play board games or card games and watch him opening presents....all from your sofa.
If he's into Lego, then a good chunk of his day can be spent building!
Lego or knex (can you still get knex?) or marble run, or something else to do or build and a whole day to build it in. Favourite stuff (his choice?) for all meals. Steak is a quicker cook than most things and if you have a fire you can even barbecue it in one of those wirey racks on a handle thingys -or just go crazy with ready made party food and have 3 puddings! Watch films on the sofa.
if she has offered to stay in a hotel, let her.. order dinner there and walk it.
Not much to add but you sound such a lovely thoughtful mum. Please try not to worry too much about cooking big meals, children love treats at Christmas such as snacking on quality street, selection boxes and pringles more than the sit down meals. The roast lunch ready meal is a good idea. For breakfast could you cook some bacon in the microwave and have bacon butties or something like ready made pancakes? Get some crackers, watch a festive movie together, get him some lovely presents, I'm sure he won't want for anything else.
With regards to your mother, does she understand or appreciate how ill you are? I think you need to tell her that she is welcome but will need to make her own arrangements for getting to your house, perhaps she could arrange a carer for herself to bring her. Good luck and
If staying home don't unwrap the pressies all in one go. Spread it out over two days. That way your DS unwraps a present, plays with it for a while, has lunch, unwraps new present et cetera. It helps to keep him entertained.
Had another idea - how about getting a lunch from Cook? They do fabulous home-style frozen food, great quality. They have a Christmas lunch for 2 for £35, cooks in 90 minutes and it's all prepped for you and they send you a time-line (it's just unwrapping and bunging in oven/microwave). They have £5 off if you sign up to their newsletter right now, they deliver to your door. You could just order this plus a few extras that your son likes (pigs in blankets? Roasties?) or they offer a build-your-own version
Where in London are you? Might help with specific recs.
I have always used Addison Lee for bookings in Christmas Day - never any issues.
I've had other food from "cook" it has always been delicious, that idea is brilliant! And also to pacing the present opening. My Grampy was a farmer and so obviously still had work to do on Christmas day sorting out the animals. First thing we could open our stocking, after breakfast one other present that FC had delivered then we went to church. After church we could open other presents from FC, (2 or 3 each). All other presents had to wait until after lunch. I don't remember ever minding and it gave the day a real shape and extended the excitement.
You vist her in the hotel?
Go Xmas eve for an evening drink then go home.
Xmas day you and ds have morning together, then lunch with your mother in the hotel, he gets present(s) from gran or you save something for him to open that will keep him busy if there are no other children about, then go home for a DVD.
Sorry for the radio silence.
I got really anxious just thinking about it all so switched off all thoughts on Xmas for a while.
Have to work it out soon though so I can get ahead of it before my mother books stuff...
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