christmas garland

To all of those caring for loved ones this season: I hope that this season is a time of fun, relief, and respite for you!


The season of giving is here. It is an exciting time of year! As a caregiver, I should probably share in the excitement that this season brings … but what I really feel is nervous energy! Nervous about how my loved one will handle family visits? Will too much holiday music be a trigger? Will the non-routine activities that come along with celebrating the Christmas season be too much for my loved one to bear?

All caregivers can handle varying degrees of holiday stress — I do not know of any specific activities that ALL caregivers should refrain from doing — we all have unique needs. However, I have learned to be open to making adjustments for my loved one’s needs during this holiday season. In these next articles, loved ones of those who care for those with a traumatic brain injury (TBI), Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), or any wound, illness or injury from service, are given advice and tips on how to combat stress during the holidays.

In this first article, 5 Key Holiday Survival Strategies for Military Caregivers, by Dole Caregiver Fellow Jennifer MacKinday, she mentions that many caregivers feel overwhelmed, short on time and even shorter on patience during the holiday season (Does this sound familiar?) One tip that hit close to home is to consider serving pre-cut Christmas cookies during the holidays instead of baking home-made cookies from scratch!  (Although I chose to bake pre-cut cookies from the grocery store this year to eliminate the stress of baking cookies from scratch, I know of some amazing caregivers who actually enjoy baking and find it to be a stress reliever:) Read her entire blog at, a website dedicated to supporting military caregivers, as well as connecting caregivers with local resources.


There is another very helpful article, written by a staff member of Family Caregiver Alliance, that gives clear, and practical advice to caregivers on ways to have better communications and success during the holidays. “Caregiving and the Holidays: From Stress To Success!” gives practical tips that could help caregivers to enjoy this Christmas season. I have applied some of these tips, which have helped me to get through some very difficult moments this season. While caregiver challenges are not exactly the same, my hope is that something in these articles will speak to your situation, and will be helpful.




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