Gift shopping with a brain injury

BY: ALYSON ROGERS

All I want for Christmas is a brand new brain – just kidding – but shopping for the holidays with a brain injury can be a struggle.

This time last year, I could only manage going between home and work. Doing anything extra became extremely difficult due my physical brain injury symptoms. I tried to go into the mall, and had to leave almost immediately. This lead to me doing all of my gift shopping online. Now a year later, my health has significantly improved, but I still plan to do my shopping online.

Woman drinking a hot drink on a grey couch wearing red christmas socks with snow flakes and reindeer

I realized that as much as I love shopping, the mall at this time of the year is not my friend. I find the crowds overwhelming and I’m already uncoordinated; trying to walk through a hoard of last minute shoppers is the equivalent of being a professional athlete for someone with a brain injury. The bright lights bother my light-sensitive eyes, and while the Eaton Centre tree is beautiful, I can’t look at it for too long. It’s hard for damaged brains to process so much sensory information, such as what I have described above, and I haven’t even gotten to picking out gifts yet.

Due to the part of my brain that has sustained damage, I struggle with making decisions.  I have a hard time deciding what to buy someone in a quiet room, let alone while trying to process all the sights and sounds going on around me. My holiday trips to the mall often end up with me being very fatigued and coming out with little, no or the wrong gifts. This defeats the entire purpose of going to the mall in the first place.

Giant Reindeer infront of the giant Christmas tree at the Eaton Centre
PHOTO VIA CF EATON CENTRE FACEBOOK 

This year, I don’t plan to enter any mall for gift shopping, I will order everything online.  Having a brain injury is exhausting enough and if I can do something to negate or avoid symptoms, I will. People often ask me if I am worried about my gifts coming late. I am not worried about this, because my loved ones will understand that it’s easier for me to shop online and sometimes gifts arrive late. If they don’t, they’ll be on the Naughty list next year.

Happy Holidays!


Alyson is 26-years-old and acquired her first brain injury ten years ago. She graduated from Ryerson University and is a youth worker at a homeless shelter. In her spare time, Alyson enjoys writing, rollerblading and reading. Follow her on Twitter @arnr33 or on The Mighty.

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How to survive the holidays when you’re recently injured

BY: DAWNE McKAY

Christmas can be a challenging time for all of us but it can be extremely difficult for many collision survivors, or others, who are recovering from a brain injury. Everything is supposed to be happy with plenty of family and togetherness, but what if you are a survivor of a car crash or another recent brain injury? As survivors, we need to acknowledge that the holidays will be different this year.

Here are some helpful tips to support you during this festive period:

1. Say yes to help!

There will people who will want to help and may offer their support. Take them up on their offers. If family members or friends aren’t offering, ask. If you have always been independent like me, I found this very hard to do, but it is so important. Asking others to help with cooking, shopping or decorating can be a big relief and can help take away some of your stress.

Say yes to help

2. Decide where you want to spend the holidays.

You may want to change the location especially if you travel out of town every year to celebrate with family. Ask your family members to come see you or suggest a Skype or Facetime chat if you are unable to celebrate with them this year.

3. Remember that not everyone will be feeling the same way as you.

Be honest. Tell people what you want or what you do not want to do for the holidays.  Let them know what will make you uncomfortable, such as a drive to visit a relative.  Make it clear that some things aren’t easy for you.

4. Don’t send holiday cards if you are not up to the task.

Finding addresses and writing cards can take a lot of energy and could cause unnecessary fatigue. Your family and friends will understand if they do not receive a card from you this year.

5. Make a Holiday list and check it twice.

Yes another list!  Surviving a collision and recovering from a brain injury makes it harder for us to concentrate and remember things. Once you complete a task on your list make sure to check it off as you go. Put your list in a safe spot. I always have my list on the front of my fridge so I can always find it and have easy access to it.

If you are stressed about getting to the mall or walking around with the crowds, cut back on gifts or shop online.

alone time is necessary especially if you are recovering

6. Skip (or minimize) the decorations if it is too much for you this year.

You don’t have to have the perfect tree, perfectly wrapped gifts, and perfect table. Accept that this year may not be perfect and that it is okay. Ask someone for help.  Remember that your family and friends are there to help and they will understand.

7. Remember that crying is okay.

The holidays can be overwhelming even for someone that is not recovering from a collision. If you have a house full of guests, excuse yourself if you feel a cry-fest coming on and take some time to yourself. Find a quiet spot to de-compose. Holidays can be hectic so “alone” time is necessary especially if you are recovering.

8. Watch the food

Food can make us feel better in the short term. Don’t deprive yourself, but be careful that you do not let food become your holiday comfort especially if you are sedentary. You already have enough going on with your recovery without having to deal with a bad stomach from overeating or a sudden weight gain.

9. Watch your intake of alcohol.

Alcohol can become a fast friend when we are feeling anxious, stressed or simply overwhelmed. You may already be taking prescription medication for your injuries and those two substances are not a good mix.

Accept that this year may not be perfect and that it is okay

10. Splurge on a gift for you if you can.

Make it small and simple. I always treat myself to a beautiful Christmas Bouquet at Christmas and place them in an area where I can always see them. When I find myself overwhelmed or frustrated, I gaze upon those lovely flowers and it helps lessen my anxiety even if its just for a few minutes.

11. Take a social media diet

Limit your use on social media during the holidays especially if you are feeling frustrated, sad or lonely. Your eyes need to rest!

12. Stick to a proper bedtime

Try your best to go to bed the same time every night. An hour before bed, start winding down your activities so you can set yourself up for a good night’s sleep. Think of this as your time to power down: focus on relaxing your body and mind.

13. If you’re still in hospital 

If you are in the hospital recovering from a crash this Christmas, it is only natural that you may be missing your family and friends not to mention all the wonderful food and festivities. Remind your family members and friends to visit you only if you feel up to it. If they cannot visit, ask them to call you at a certain time so you do not feel alone or left out. Ask a family member or friend to bring you something from home that is festive to bring some Christmas joy to your room.


Dawne McKay is a survivor of a horrific car crash and is the Founder of the online support group MVA Support & Recovery which allows survivors of collisions from all over the globe to come together to support each other as they navigate their road to recovery. Dawne is also the Founder of “Sharing Our Recovery” which is a quarterly newsletter filled with informative up-to-date articles from organizations, groups and businesses relating to Motor Vehicle Collisions. In 2018, her advocacy continued as she became a “Crash Survivor Blogger.  You can find her writing about her own personal experiences during recovery which includes advice and tips for survivor on our Crash Survivor Blog

 

How to save money during the holidays

BY: ALISON

No matter what you’re celebrating – be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza – or any other holiday – during the winter season traditions, celebrations and get togethers can be expensive, especially when gifts are involved. It’s extremely difficult for anyone to set a realistic budget and stick to it, so here are some tips to help you spend within your financial means during the holidays.

#1. Reduce the number of gifts you buy

Make an exhaustive list of all of the people you typically purchase gifts for. Review the list and see if you can shorten it. Ask yourself, is there anyone you don’t see as often, or anyone that you keep on your list simply because they have you on theirs? It might be time to cut them out.

person holding a gift in front of a christmas tree

It can be helpful to think about who are the people that you buy personalized gifts for, and who you buy generic gifts for. Consider not purchasing gifts for the people who fall in the latter category. This doesn’t have to be an awkward moment, a simple conversation or email to say you’re trying to save some money, de-clutter or that you have everything you need already, is usually all it takes for people to get the message. Ask what they think of no longer exchanging gifts, and odds are they will happily agree.

Suggest only getting gifts for the children in your lives. Adults can arrange a Secret Santa or Gift Swap, where each person brings one gift for one adult. Set a price range everyone can agree on, and remember a smaller amount can be even more fun, because then people have to be creative and thoughtful. I’ve also done this with gift themes, like practical gifts, handmade gifts, cooking tools, or re-gifted items only.

Here’s another option: my favourite type of party to host is an exchange party, because one person’s trash is truly another person’s treasure. People bring gently used clothing, shoes, accessories, or household items that they don’t want or need anymore. It all gets placed in the centre of a room and then people can look through and take home any items they like. Anything remaining at the end of the night gets donated to a charity that accepts such items.

christmas cookies

Once you’ve finalized the list of people that you will be giving gifts to, it’s important to set a realistic budget per person and stick to it. It will be very tempting to add little things or to get more expensive presents, but if you’re not strict about not going over budget, your finances could suffer for quite some time after the holiday season. It’s not worth it, and your friends and family don’t want that for you.

#2. Choose less expensive gifts

Some of the best gifts I’ve ever received barely cost anything, check out some of these ideas below.

Write it Out

Write a letter expressing how much someone means to you. Relive favourite memories, share what you admire about them and let them know the difference they’ve made in your life. The recipient will feel very touched and appreciated, and just the surprise of receiving something in the mail is a wonderful gift in and of itself.

Edible Options

The most thoughtful gifts are homemade. If you want to give people edible gifts, cookies, cake, or chocolate truffles made from scratch (or close to it) are great. If you want to give a bit more, wrap the food in in an additional gift, such as a tea towel, baking pan, or a pretty dish, bowl, or gift box. Alternatively, you can assemble meals in glass jars, such as this delicious split pea soup. You can also check out some of BIST’s favourite Chef Janet Craig’s easy recipes, such as these amazing coconut cranberry slices.

For the Crafty Folk

If you’re a knitter, handmade comfy socks, scarves or ornaments make a great gift.  Another idea: my cousin starts growing unique plants up to a year in advance and separates the baby plants into new pots. Then she gives the individual plants away as gifts for the holidays. All you need, other than time, sunlight, and water, is small, inexpensive pots and potting soil.

A bowl of chocolate Santas with oranges

Make an Advent Calendar 

I love receiving and making advent calendars. You can use kraft or wrapping paper to make gift bags, you can reuse small boxes, or sew your own mini stockings (DIY instructions HERE.

I’ve seen people wrap toilet paper rolls in pretty paper. Number the gifts from 1 to 24 and you’ll be able to surprise someone for almost the entire month of December. I like to collect little $1 items for advent calendars throughout the year, such as small toys, craft supplies, stickers or $1 lottery scratch tickets. You can also write down inspirational quotes or suggest a daily activity, such as building a snow man.

#3. Life Hacks on Saving Money while Shopping

If you decide to spend money on gifts, here are some tips for how you can still save money on your purchases:

Make a donation to a cause that your friends and family are passionate about. Make the donation in their name and send a card to let them know.

Buy discounted gift cards, look for deals where you pay less but get a higher valued gift card. Costco offers these on a regular basis, while Cineplex often offers deals closer to the holiday season. Just be sure to read the fine print, because sometimes an expiration date may apply.

Start early – really early 

The following tips work best if you know exactly what you want to give to each of the people on your list:

  • Start researching prices and shopping early in the year so you can track sales and figure out what the best prices are. It also allows you to spread the cost of the holidays across several months. Just don’t purchase edible items too early in advance!
  • Go to chat forums such as www.redflagdeals.com where people share and discuss all sorts of deals and sales.
  • Be sure to compare the prices of the items you’re looking for across different stores. Don’t forget to price compare online, if you’re able to.
  • Create an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of the best prices and sales that you find throughout the year. Sales are often announced in flyers and on store websites. I love using the flipp app to pull up and compare all of the flyers in one easy place.
  • The best deals are when you can stack promotions. For example, if you have a general coupon that you can use on anything in a store, wait to see if your item gets heavily discounted, and then use your coupon to get a further discount. Check the conditions and keep an eye on the expiration date.
  • Find out which stores near you will price match and learn their conditions. Some companies will even offer you an additional discount when you price match in their store.
  • The most important things to consider when shopping online are exchange rates, shipping costs and times, refund/exchange policy, and applicable duty costs.
  • If you’re shopping for experiences, try deals websites such as groupon.com and wagjag.com but read the fine print as they tend to have short expiration dates and multiple conditions.
  • If you shop online often, consider signing up for an account with ebates.ca which will give you cash back if you shop on certain websites through the ebates link.
  • Some of the best discounts are not advertised. For big ticket items such as TVs, appliances and furniture, stores will sell discontinued models at a very good price. You can ask sales associates if they have any discontinued models or when they are expecting the manufacturers to release new lists.

A pile of boxed gifts

Here’s wishing you a happy, stress-free and cost-efficient holiday!


‘Mind Yourself with Alison’ is a collection of self-help tips, research, and personal experiences dedicated to helping people thrive after brain injury (or other trauma). Check out Alison’s other BIST Blog articles Women and Brain Injury: What you need to know and How to be a Good Friend to a Survivor.

Lights, Christmas, Action!

BY: MARK KONING

I remember lying in my hospital bed and looking out of the window at the smokestack that illuminated a soft purple glow when it got dark. I was six-years-old and recovering from encephalitis which had landed me in a coma for two-weeks.

outdoor Christmas Lights
Lights outside Mark’s home

Low level light therapy (near infrared) may have beneficial effects in the acute treatment of brain damage injury.Dr Michael Hamblin   

But, it is documented that: a number of individual cases in which patients with chronic mild brain injury showed marked improvement in cognition, executive function, memory and sleep with light emitting diode (LED) treatments. – BioFlex Laser Therapy: Shining light on brain injury – Benjamin Yuen, DC, MSc, MCC(UK); Fred Kahn, MD, FRCS(C); and Fernanda Saraga, PhD
Source: Meditech International Inc.

Fast-forward almost 40 years, and I still find comfort in lights, especially at Christmas.

I enjoy hanging Christmas lights around our house (though I try to finish it up before the weather gets too frigid and I freeze my hands and fingers.) Once they are all plugged in, I find it calming and almost mesmerizing to look upon them in awe.

Is this brain injury related? I don’t think Dr. Hamblin and the others were referring to Christmas lights when they spoke about light therapy. But they are a comfort.

We’re big on Christmas at home: our house explodes with Christmas decorations, we host an annual open house, I do the lighting inside for the tree and fireplace mantle, but my favourite are the outdoors lights.

I am no Clark Griswold in National Lampoon, but I like setting up a fair decent amount of lights on the exterior of our home. I may even think how to out-do myself, every so often.

I like the glow that shines in the darkness of night. Wrapping the lights around our flag pole like a giant candy cane, outlining the windows and doors with colour and thinking, yes, “What can I add this year?”

Mark Koning and his mother Ria
Mark and his mother, Ria

Maybe there is something to the effect of lights like this on my damaged brain, I don’t know. Or maybe it is the memory of the purple tower that I am drawn back to, something that made me feel safe and secure during a very vulnerable time of my life.

But maybe, too, it is simply the festive time of year.


Mark’s passion to lend a helping hand, offer advice and give back has developed into a moral and social responsibility with the goal of sharing, inspiring and growing – for others as well as himself. His experience as a survivor, caregiver, mentor and writer has led to his credibility as an ABI Advocate and author of his life’s story, Challenging Barriers & Walking the Path. Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Koning or go to www.markkoning.com

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How we celebrate Christmas after my husband’s brain injury

BY: THERESA McCOLL

My husband, Norm, has lived in a long term care home since acquiring his brain injury six years ago. Each holiday, be it Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween or Christmas, the facility decorates the common areas, in attempt to give residents and their families a more festive experience.

To be honest, since Norm’s accident, I really haven’t felt like celebrating the holidays. Norm and I don’t have kids so why bother? It seems as though I am just going through the motions.

Thankfully, Norm and I have good people around us. We get a crew together to decorate Norm’s room each year. His brother, sister-in-law and friends come to help. They help bring out the holiday spirit – which is hard, as Norm doesn’t show many emotions.

Remember to take time for yourself. Even a walk around the block to clear your head, or sitting down to breathe can work wonders. If you don't look after yourself who will?

As much as possible, we try to keep things the same as before the accident. Christmas Eve we go to our parish church for mass. On Christmas Day we go to Norm’s brother’s to open presents and see the rest of the family. In the afternoon, Norm and I head over to our friends to wish them a Merry Christmas.

Despite this, our trips are more complicated now and planning is essential. When Norm and I go anywhere, I have to book the mobility van that is at his long term care facility. If the van is booked, I have to phone the taxi company. I have to strap Norm in with seat belts for safety. When we go out for Christmas dinner, to a restaurant or to friends, I have to make sure that Norm has a pureed meal to eat.

Remember to take time for yourself. Even a walk around the block to clear your head, or sitting down to breathe can work wonders. If you don't look after yourself who will?

 

At the end of the day, I think having family and friends around is all Norms needs as when they are around, he just beams.


After her husband’s injury, Theresa went back to school to become a Personal Support Worker. She has taken courses in brain injury, and is now a full time caregiver. You can follow her on Instagram, HERE

Practising Holiday Mindfulness

BY: LAUREN UHDE

Let’s make this holiday season unforgettable, heart wrenchingly beautiful, and full of connection.

Person holding a joy card

Another holiday season is upon us it and in it’s in our power to make it the most memorable one yet. We have a choice to make. We can end the holidays exhausted, stretched to our limits from running around, and in need of a true break. Or, we can choose to be mindful and allow ourselves to truly spread holiday cheer, finding fulfillment in all we do.

So let’s choose fulfillment. Let’s choose love. To love ourselves, everyone we meet and to truly be grateful. We want connection. We want to rediscover the depths of important relationships and maybe even build some new ones. We want to feel renewed, energized, satisfied and happy. Let’s gift ourselves this holiday season by taking action and making these wants a reality.

A holiday season touched by greatness is one that’s executed with intention. Put intention behind your actions with these four mindfulness tips that will help you get the most out of your time. How can mindfulness help? Mindfulness helps us be more present and aware through our activities. It helps us slow down to make sure we don’t miss the beauty of what is right in front of us. It shines a light on how we are feeling, helps us to stop acting automatically and start taking deliberate action.

To help you get the most out of these mindfulness tips, first I’ll explain how to do the mindfulness activity and then I’ll tell you why it matters.

Having a solid ‘why’ is a key to making changes.

icicles

Tip #1: Mindful Breathing

How: Pause throughout your day to take three to five deep breaths. Really watch and feel your breath. Feel the air flow in your noise, noticing its cool touch. Feel it move through your body, down into your belly. Feel your abdomen rise with each in breath. Feel your belly lower as you exhale through your mouth, noticing how the air is warm as it leaves your body. Watch this cycle three to five times, paying attention to how the breath feels in your body.

Notice the changing sensations. This whole process takes no more than a minute.

Why: Watching our breath is an incredible way to feel the stress and tension melt away. It is extremely calming and brings our attention to the most basic need in our life – breathing. It helps us appreciate being alive. It slows the mind, even just for a minute. This practice can revolutionize our holidays. Whenever we feel the stress rising, we can gift ourselves this minute to help us regain control over our thoughts and emotions. This simple minute gives us the opportunity to remember the joy that’s rightfully ours over the holidays. We’ll be ready to spread the cheer with these mini minute meditations.

pexels-photo-25112

Tip #2: Mindful Listening

How: Give the person you are talking to your full attention. Instead of thinking what to say next, stop and really listen. Pay attention to their tone, emotions, and thoughts. Watch their gestures. Ask meaningful questions.

Why: Meaningful conversations build meaningful relationships. Holidays are a time for family and friends. While visiting with the people we care about we risk falling into the trap of having the same surface conversation over and over. We get ready to share our side of ‘what’s new’ or are running over a response while we half listen. Active, mindful listening gives us an opportunity to fully hear what others have to say. Our responses become deeper, our connection grows because everyone loves to truly feel heard. Whether a conversation is short or long, mindful listening makes each one more meaningful. The more we practice this technique the easier it becomes and the more we learn about our loved ones as questions we once never thought to ask start to flow. Dive deep, truly connect.

Tip #3: Mindful Eating

food-vegetables-meal-kitchen

How: From the moment you grab your empty plate pay attention. How does the food smell in the room around you? Survey the choices that you have in front of you.

What do you actually want to eat and how much is the right amount for you? Mindfully portion out your food knowing you can always go back for more. Before you start eating take a second to look at your plate, feeling grateful, recognizing all of the work that went into getting that food to your plate (people who cooked the food, farmers, stores, nature). Eat and chew consciously. Enjoy and really taste every bite. Listen to your body and give it more food when it wants more, less when it wants less.

Why: During the holidays we have a tendency to overeat in ways that make us feel sluggish and sometimes even bad about ourselves. This holiday season let’s bring mindfulness to our eating habits. We can still enjoy all of our holiday food, indulging in ways we may not normally do but do so consciously. Paying attention to the food we are eating can bring us so much joy as tastes, smells, and textures of food are heightened. We can walk away from the table feeling good about what we’ve eaten, knowing that each bite was a memorable experience. Eating mindfully helps us build a healthy connection with food and supports us in nourishing our bodies for optimal health.

Tip #4: Mindful Appreciation

How: Set an intention at the start of your day that you will make a point to notice and truly appreciate the good, big and small, throughout your day. Be mindful as you go move through your day, giving a smile to all the things that often get taken for granted or go unnoticed. Before bed, set one minute aside to mindfully appreciate 5 or more things in your life (from the day or your life in general).

For example: I appreciate that the cashier at the grocery store gave me a big smile this afternoon.

pexels-photo-245239

Why: Paying attention throughout the day helps us really start to notice how much there is to be grateful for. The nighttime appreciation practice helps us go to bed on a strong note, priming us to wake up in a more appreciative state. This will supercharge our holiday cheer, making sure we don’t miss the beauty that is right in front of us. Mindful appreciation as a habit can change the way we see the world!

The Impact of Mindfulness over the Holidays:

When we put these practices together, the holiday season shines with meaningful moments. Mindful breathing helps us stay centered and take precious time for ourselves. Mindful listening helps us connect with everyone we meet on a deeper level. Mindful eating helps us feel nourished and helps us stay healthy. Mindful appreciation helps us feel blessed for all we have.

These mindfulness tips are great all year around.

Test them out during the holidays and watch love radiate and shine through your world!


Lauren’s passion in life is helping people discover the true joy of self-love. She is a Reiki Master, Holistic Nutritionist (CNP) and Life Coach. She is the Head Mindfulness Coach for Cocoon Health and Fitness, an organization with a mission to awaken the power of self-love through fitness, nutrition, and mindful living by creating awareness and connection to the whole self, body, mind and spirit. Learn more at cocoonhealth.ca. Follow her on Instagram and  Facebook

5 Tips for Putting the Merry Back in Christmas

BY: CELIA M

Over the past ten years I have struggled with enjoying my favourite holiday season, Christmas, so I know the struggle is real.

image-1

This year as I sat down to think about how best to get through this time of the year without feeling overwhelmed I had an ‘aha’ moment. What I realized is many of the stresses were also there before my ABI. You know, decorating just right, cooking the best turkey dinner, picking out the right gift, squeezing in all the holiday festivities, and let’s not forget scoring the right outfit and heels for each party.

What makes it feel more stressful is my energy reserves, or better said the lack of. So this year, I’m taking Christmas back to basics and I have to tell you, I’m feeling a lot merrier.

Here are my 5 Tips to Help you put Merry Back in Christmas:

Decorating – Keep it Simple:

If you enjoy having a Christmas tree, but become overwhelmed and exhausted just thinking about decorating it and the thought of having to take it down in just a few short weeks, try a small table top tree.

You can find real table top trees at most grocery stores, Christmas tree lots or pick up an artificial one that often is already decorated, which can be dusted off year after year. You get your Christmas tree and no there is no struggling with big strings of lights, that I swear spring to life in storage doing the Tango and become tangled beyond hope.

I also keep décor throughout the house pretty simple, adding a poinsettia here and there and I also love Christmas cactus which adds a touch of colour during the holidays. And at the end of the holiday season take down is even more simplified.

The Signature Gift

Over the years Christmas has become so commercialized that you feel extreme pressure to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list (and take out a small mortgage in the process). Take a step back  and remember that the original “Christmas is a time for giving” was about being practical, giving to those less fortunate, it was about the thought and not the cost of an item. I’ve started to think that our grandmothers had the right idea – with socks, pjs, and things of the like – practical. I have a friend who every Christmas gifts me a bag of my fav coffee beans, some cookies, tea, chocolates and a small gift that made her think of me (one year it was a t-shirt), each time I enjoy part of the gift, I think of her and smile.

A signature gift is something that you become known for giving, such as a book, pjs, home baked goodies, bubble bath, sweater, etc. Once you decide on what your signature gift will be, you adjust it to each recipient’s interest. For example if it’s a book, you choose one on the recipient’s particular interest. One of my signature gifts to give to friends is a journal. Yes, you can have more than one signature gift, for one friend I always gift her something for the kitchen, she loves to cook with her family.

I have saved myself countless hours of stress and anxiety and physical and emotional energy since adopting a signature gift method of giving.

There can be a lot of pressure to gift EVERYONE you know, what I have come to realize is that you don’t have to buy a gift for everyone you know.  A good ole fashion Christmas cards is a great way to wish someone a Merry Christmas or Happy Holiday Season.

Budget – Make a List and Check it Twice

PHOTO:
PHOTO: THEBALANCE.COM

Whether it comes to gifts, entertaining, celebrating on the town with friends or decorating your home, it is important to know what your budget comfort is. Once you have determined your budget, allocate a portion to each area and track your spending and most important stick to your budget.

Having a budget does not mean you have to miss out it just means you need to prioritize and be a little creative. If you have more people on your gift list than budget, consider reducing the amount per person. Are there people on your gift list that really are more like acquaintances and should be moved to the card list?

If things are tight but you really were looking forward to hosting Christmas dinner go pot luck, the people you would be sharing a meal with are coming to spend time together and will understand and be more than happy to bring a dish or wine, if asked. A lean budget doesn’t mean you have to miss out on going out with friends, instead of joining everyone for dinner, opt to join them later for dessert.

Christmas Entertaining

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PHOTO: THEDINNINGTABLE.SG

Christmas is about spending time with family and friends, so enlist the help of your guests  by asking them to bring something for the meal. If budget allows, you can purchase a prepped or fully cooked meal from places such as your local market, hotels, or restaurant. I used a prepped meal that was all ready to go into oven from Whole Foods, one Thanksgiving, and it was really good.

If a pot luck Christmas meal still seems overwhelming but you still want to entertain, opt for alternatives, such as hosting a hot chocolate, cocktail, afternoon tea, brunch, or a board game Christmas gathering.

Remember the real meaning of Christmas

As the hustle and bustle of the season whirls around your head, remind yourself that being surrounded by people who truly care about you is what is important. And also remember friends are often extended family who we choose for ourselves. Don’t feel pressured to over spend both in money and your physical and emotional energy bank.

These are some ways I have put Merry back in my Christmas, I would love for you to share some of the ways you have found work for you.


Celia is an ABI survivor who is dedicated to helping others move forward in their journey and live the life they dream of. She is the founder of the internationally read blog High Heeled Life – inspiration for living a luxurious and balanced life; featured author in Soulful Relationships part of the best-selling series Adventures in Manifesting; a Peer Mentor with BIST; a regular speaker for Canadian Blood Services – Speakers Bureau; Self-care advocate; Lifestyle writer/blogger.  In 2016 Celia launched the website Resilientista to inspire women to put themselves in their day, practice self-care on the daily and live their version of a High Heeled Life. Learn more about Celia and be inspired: visit http://www.HighHeeledLife.com or http://www.Resilientista.com