The holidays can be a tumultuous time. Advertisements would have us believe that the ups and downs of life take a hiatus for the holiday season. However, many of us know that it’s unrealistic to expect that Christmas will be perfect. Our disabilities and chronic illnesses can be additional inconveniences when celebrating the holidays. Maybe you’re too exhausted to bake cookies or perhaps your aunt’s house isn’t wheelchair-accessible. Although these obstacles can be daunting they can inspire us to look for new ways to create a magical holiday experience.
As my mother has grown weaker due to her progressing symptoms of mitochondrial myopathy, preparing for Christmas has become more of a challenge. My family has had to adapt to the circumstances. We’ve developed alternative methods to keep the season’s spirit alive. My mom used to have the Christmas tree decorated two days after Thanksgiving, but those days are long gone. Nowadays it’s a two-person job: My father installs the lights and she arranges the ornaments.
Finding the previous years’ decorations became a big struggle for my mother. So being the brilliant human being that she is, she came with the idea to buy decorations from the 99-cent store. That way she can dispose of them after the holidays and we can begin again next year with new decor.
No one wants to hear that they may be spending their Christmas or Hanukkah in the hospital. While I have yet to experience a holiday in a hospital room I know that even at the age of 21, I would still yearn for that iconic Christmas morning. Waking up in my own bed and realizing it’s the morning. Every child dreams of a sparkly, mystical, winter day, unwrapping presents with family and friends. A day filled with joy, smiles, and laughter.