What are the difficulties you are facing over the festive period?

I suppose the difficulties I feel I am facing over the festive period are being in close proximity to lots of other people. I come from a small family and I find being in close proximity with lots of people really difficult, I prefer very small groups or even 1-1’s. I dread people with germs that are coughing and sneezing. I immediately look away and either breathe out or hold my breath for several seconds. I stock up with antiseptic wipes and sprays. Physically and emotionally, although I might not be doing the work, I get fatigued. I also dread playing games as I hate the thought of doing badly or letting people down. Lastly, I am not good with pets and they always seem to seek me out.

It sounds like a tricky time for you @erica Are you due to be with lots of people this year? As far as the games are concerned, I’d just make excuses and not play - say you need a rest and would prefer to watch. My inlaws are big on games - I’d rather slob out watching TV and eating chocolates! I’m quite looking forward to this Christmas as it’s the first one in a while where the cloud of possible hospital admission hasn’t been hanging over us. Mind you, it does mean that people expect me to make more of an effort and I don’t like the pressure of everything having to be perfect. Also not too keen on spending some of it with people I hardly see during the year, but that’s another story. As soon as the boys are older, I’m hoping to escape to a country hotel for Christmas, just the 4 of us! x

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I’m thinking of those who don’t have a much loved and missed friend or family member with them this Christmas, there is a lot of pressure and build up, and this can magnify grief or loneliness. There are so many emotions aren’t there, hope and excitement for some but dread or grief for others,

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@Erica @MrsGriff @DawnBloodwise I hate the commercial aspect of different days…Christmas starting in August, then Valentines day, straight into Easter…There is too much pressure to have the perfect day, and it is not about the food, presents, who has the gaudiest lights. I have a strong faith and celebrating Christ’s birth is the most important aspect (although I do respect not everyone has the same belief, including many of my family). My daughter’s family is looking after us this Christmas, and as my SIL once said, "Christmas Dinner is just a bigger roast dinner. They are vegetarian but the grandchildren and ourselves are having roast beef and Yorkshire puds. From when we were married we always kept Christmas day for ourselves and the children. Visits took place around the rest of the Christmas period.
Although I am from a big family I prefer smaller gatherings, especially since my hearing has deteriorated. We celebrated our ruby anniversary going to the NE and Lake District meeting up with friends and family along the way.
I like your idea of slipping off to a country hotel (or maybe an isolated cottage) Lisa. I do find it easier to say no, and do not feel obligated to see people who I don’t normally associate with since I was ill. We might play Scrabble, Totopoly or Trivial pursuit but usually are so busy chatting and catching up now our children have their own families, and playing with the children. Erica, just say you will partner John and let him do all the work, or disappear into the kitchen (an aunt always disappeared into the kitchen to wash up at parties, even in someone else’s house).
The day will go by so quickly, so do what you want, after all it is a special day for you all too. If you need quiet time then say so. People should respect that. Take care xx

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