All I Want for Christmas

I will start out this Christmas blissfully alone (only another introvert can truly understand this). :-)

Introverted, Christmas, and RA

No frantic attempts at cooking. (Not a good cook!).

No waiting anxiously to see if presents I bought bring delight and surprise or halfheartedly disguised disappointment.

No coping with being in a small space with too many people for way too long (it’s an introvert thing). No feeling drained and in extreme pain and having to smile and fake it to avoid the inevitable questions (why the scrooge act?) or comments (you look great; you can’t be that sick).

I’ve finally given myself permission to put my needs and wants first. I can’t take all the credit; the pandemic over the last few years gave me a taste of a different way to experience the holidays. So this is my celebration.

Celebrating Christmas my way

A trip down memory lane.

I will curl up in my most comfy chair with a cup of coffee and something decadent to eat.

And then I will take a leisurely stroll through all of the special, heartwarming memories of my childhood and adult holiday experiences.

I will stop and dwell on the wooden box filled with my first set of oil paints that my grandma gave me. The same woman who taught me about quilting, needlepoint, and rag-rug making; women’s art as she described it.

Or the year-long book subscription my bookworm mother got me. That anticipatory excitement each month and I still remember most of the titles. I expect this "visiting" of old ties will last for hours. Hours of happy tears and laughing out loud.

Exploring gratitude

Indulging in gratitude.

I know that one sounds strange, but honestly, how often do we set aside the time to "wallow" in our gratitude?

Not the kind where I secretly write out a "list" of what I should be thankful for.

No, I’m talking about being able to physically express my joy with an open display of feelings. Hands in the air, giggles, self hugs, chair dancing, and anything else that works in the moment.

Well, I am alone so yes I can "let it all hang out" as we used to say. Each expression of gratitude will become a pearl on my personal "mala" (prayer beads), to be taken out of my minds’ storage and revisited when I’m in need of some clarity.

Putting my needs first

Pamper and spoil myself.

Small portions of all of my favorite food that I could get my hands on. Grandpa’s split pea soup (one of the few things I can cook well), my best friend’s homemade walnut fudge, my godmother's recipe for green beans.

You get the idea.

And no complaints about the menu or the lack of cooking skills lol. I will thoroughly massage my favorite scented cream into my skin while I listen to amazing carols playing in the background.

And then short cheerful phone calls with all my loved ones.

Joy with RA

I did not choose to have several debilitating illnesses that severely limit my mobility, dexterity, and energy level.

But I do choose to work around them to the best of my ability.

Joy is, for me, not about lots of presents, tons of food, and endless socialization. It’s acceptance of what is and creating a new reality I can live with. I think it’s a good start.

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