16 Festive Tips To Support Those With A Chronic Illness

christmas table

16 Festive Tips to help you support your loved ones through the holidays

Christmas Annuals

The festive season is upon us, cue lots of excitement, lights, parties, family gatherings, noise, colder weather (in the northern hemisphere). It’s all hustle bustle in the high street and Christmas adverts are on constantly.

For those going about your yearly routine it is easy to forget about some members of society. We are encouraged to check on elderly neighbours, the vulnerable and lonely but when was the last time you checked a little closer to home?

If your loved one or friend has a chronic illness here are a 16 tips for surviving the festive season.

Festive Tips for Going Out

Don’t expect them to go to every party, family gathering, drinks with friends without there being consequences. Remember just because they did it today doesn’t mean they can tomorrow. Space out social gatherings, suggest quieter venues or if you are going to friends or family is there somewhere they can go when it gets a little too much.

Father Christmas

Travelling is exhausting even if they are just a passenger. Long journeys sat in one position, potholes, busy public transport it can be very overwhelming. At the end of the journey a rest and some quiet can make all the difference.

Constant Christmas music and bright, flashing lights can be seen magical at this time of year but for some chronic illnesses it is complete sensory overload and can cause a flare, stress and anxiety. Help them by limiting the time you spend around places that are an assault on the senses.

Festive Tips for Shopping

Christmas shopping. Too many people, too much rushing, too much time spending in queues and too much time stressing over what gift to give.  You may find you enjoy it or perhaps you don’t? Think like a person with a chronic illness or a disability for a moment…How far do I have to walk? How long do I have to queue for?

  • Where are the toilets can I get to them in time?
  • Where can I rest?
  • Is it really accessible for people with ALL disabilities or just those with visible ones.
  • How long can I cope with people tutting because I’m too slow, my wheelchair/walker is taking up too much space, having to stop all the time because people cut across me?
  • Is there anywhere quiet to go if I feel anxious or panicked?

Christmas morning chaos

Online shopping is so much easier and if you still need to go to the shops, make a list of what you need, take plenty of breaks and try not to them stress about how long it’s taking etc

Festive Tips for Preparation

Just because a person with a chronic illness is at home all day or able to go to work, it doesn’t mean that they can do all the Christmas preparations at home too. Be fair, share.  Sit and down and work out what really needs to be done and what is achievable.



Don’t take over and do it all. You might think you are helping but in reality this might leave your loved one or friend feeling left out and inadequate.  It can make them focus on their inablility to do even simple tasks or feel railroaded into celebrating in a way they don’t want.

Christmas dinner at home? Prep the veg etc night before.


Wrap the presents as you buy them or at least don’t leave it all until Christmas Eve (guilty!)

Festive Tips For The Big Day

Have a big breakfast and a late Christmas Dinner. This works for me as the kids play after breakfast giving me time to rest before helping with the dinner. Having a cat nap is even better.

Christmas Morning Cuppa

Have older children? Set a time that is reasonable for getting up and give your loved one time to wake up properly.  Have a cuppa before or while the unwrapping frenzy starts.

Are you having guests or family/friends stay over? Get everyone to muck in as much as they can. Many hands make light work! Give everyone their own space (if possible)

Advocate for your loved one. Chances are there will be someone won’t get what a chronic illness is or how hard it can be. Arguments about it aren’t needed they just add to the stress. Pull that person to one side and have a quiet word.  Choose your battles, this could be left for another day.  Instead be there for your partner/friend, let them know YOU understand

Just Ask

Do you know someone who is spending Christmas on their own due to their illness? Invite them over after all the hoopla of the morning even if it just for a cuppa. People with depression, mental health issues and anxiety are often forgot about.  If they aren’t up for a visit, give them a call.

Post Christmas Dinner photo

If in doubt about, ask. Sometimes honesty is the best policy. Say “I’m not sure what you need to get through the festive season” or “what can I do?”

Then listen.

Can you think of any more Festive Tips or is there something you do that makes the festivities easier on you all?

Dottie x

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