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I have a holiday confession to make. I am a little bit of a Grinch.
Christmas time is not my favorite time of year. Sure the lights are pretty and I love the food and family time but the shopping part can take a flying leap down the chimney. I might not dislike it as much if I wasn’t forced to start celebrating it IN OCTOBER!
Well just like my monthly cycle, Christmas time comes whether I’m ready or not so I have learned to accept it. Each year, my husband and I put up the tree in December and try to make it some kind of nerdy theme. A couple of years ago, we made it a Cthulhu theme and it had tentacles coming out from the center of the tree. This year, I think we are going for a Star Wars theme and will decorate it with light sabers and put the Millennium Falcon on top.
Either way, I am always looking for ways to make the holidays less stressful and fun. I choose to do my shopping online or at smaller local stores. I never shop on Black Friday. I ask for Christmas lists and if someone doesn’t give me one (I’m looking at you mother-in-law) then they get gift cards. It can be very tricky to buy a gift for someone with chronic pain. Scented candles can cause migraines and clothes could worsen pain. They could have food allergies or be on a special diet. Before shopping, the most important thing to do is to ask if there is anything they need.
If you are looking to make the holidays special for that chronic pain sufferer in your life and they didn’t give you a list, then here are some ideas and links…
Holiday Gift Ideas for those who suffer from Chronic Pain
This is definitely on my Christmas list! I want the softest, fluffiest heated blanket on the market. It will soothe my muscles and keep me warm. I asked for a queen sized one so that when all the cats try to curl up with me there will be room for everyone.
I love my old columbia coat so much that I asked for a new one this year. They are super light weight and soft, a quality that I look for when shopping for any clothes. I also always order a size up. Since my diagnosis, I have appreciated loose fitting clothes more and more. Also, consider soft scarves, hats and gloves. Just make sure that they are not itchy, tight or uncomfortable.
Many people with fibromyalgia have temperature sensitivities. Cold air can feel like pins and needles and can instantly tighten muscles. Obviously, when you live alone, you can set the thermostat to whatever you like but when you live with a big, sweaty, German piece of meat like my husband then you have to make compromises. Space heaters are a great way of heating up one corner of the home without the threat of filing for divorce over the thermostat.
4. Offer to Make Dinner –
I think one of the nicest things that you could do for someone that has chronic pain is to offer to make them dinner or take them out for a meal. Preparing meals is one of my daily challenges. The last thing that I want to do after an 8 hour shift is cook. Unfortunately, that means that I don’t always eat healthy. I am so thankful when friends offer to have us over to eat. (I love you Joe and Jean.) It is one less thing that I have to worry about that day.
5. Spa Day-
Everyone deserves a little pampering but for someone with chronic pain, a massage or a pedicure could greatly improve their pain levels and functioning. Massage has been shown to release serotonin which helps decrease pain, relax muscles and improve sleep. A spa package can also help improve confidence and self esteem.
6. Meditation or Relaxation CDs-
There are so many benefits to meditation. I use it every night to help fall asleep. It has become such a habit that it no longer takes me an hour to fall asleep.
This is a little something to show that you support and care for them. Perhaps a bumper sticker or an adorable necklace from etsy. Anybody can go to the jewelry counter and get some generic necklace but purchasing something individual shows that you care.
As someone who suffers from Fibro, I am always looking for more information on how to manage my disease. The problem is that I do not always have the finances to buy another book and sometimes I want to keep the book longer than what the library will let me. Here are a few books that may provide some support to your friend or family member.
I have found that yoga can be very helpful to relieve symptoms of fibromyalgia and also a very uplifting activity. I feel much better physically and mentally after a session.
11. Hot or Cold wrap –
These are great gifts and I love to have one of each. Some days I need a cold wrap on my neck and some days I need a heating pad on my back. It is also one of those things that it does not hurt to have extras of. I could take one to work or one to my parent’s house. It also helps to have more than one if you have multiple areas of soreness.
12. Gift Cards-
The “catch all” present. When you just are not sure what to get someone, give them money. Since it can be so tricky to shop for someone with sensitivities and our finances tend to be low, the best thing that you can do is also the easiest.
13. Bath Supplies-
Another relaxing and pain relieving idea. Lavender Epson Salts improve muscle pain and help with sleep. Two things that people with fibromyalgia chronically need help with. You can also add in a comfortable pillow and a bathtub caddy to make bath time even more relaxing.
14. Hope for a Cure-
None of us asked to go through this but we all are hopeful that some day we will find a cure. Please offer that special someone in your life all the support and love until that cure is found. Thank you.
Please add any suggestions that you may have in the comments section below.