Christmas on Chemo

In 2006, my Christmas letter neglected to tell the tales of brilliant, talented, and amazing children and pets. Instead, I dropped a bomb–I had ovarian cancer. 

Bald, fatigued and in pain from chemotherapy, I had to lay aside my usual baking and Christmas decorating traditions.  

I needed to simplify. What could I delete from my favorite Christmas activities? How would I accomplish those projects I deemed most important?

Whether you are dealing with cancer or other health issues, here are a few suggestions I found helpful to simplify and still enjoy the Christmas season.

  1. Plan rest times between activities.  
  2. Choose those activities that bring you the most joy, the events that are the most meaningful to you. 
  3. Keep projects small so they can be done in stages with minimal clean up.
  4. If  “I should…” begins your thought, maybe it’s time to say no.
  5. Instead of the plethora of decorations, choose your favorites, the ones that carry your favorite memories.
  6. Simplify baking. Remember even Christmas favorites can be enjoyed and appreciated at another time of year.
  7. Enlist the help of family and friends for shopping, decorating, and baking.
  8. Shop on-line. Some sites offer gift-wrapping or use gift bags.
  9. This may be the year to write a Christmas letter instead of personalized cards. 
  10. Simplify dinner. Try a potluck or assign dishes. Maybe allow someone else to spearhead the gathering. Also many grocery stores offer a holiday dinner package. Remember, holiday celebrations are times to gather with those we love.

I treasured the festive gatherings with family and friends. But on the stark winter evenings, I also enjoyed my brightly lit hand-painted nativity set. With its shimmering lights this serene scene comforted and reminded me of the peace and hope we celebrate at Christmas—the birth of our Savior, Emmanuel, God with us.

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