Having spent an afternoon making Christmas cards, and had the annual "what do you want for Christmas?" question from a number of relatives, I have been thinking a lot about Christmas and what it means when you live with a long-term health condition.
So what do I want for Christmas? A new pair of legs that work, some eyes that can always read, a head that doesn't hurt, an arm that doesn't decide to stop working intermittently and a mind that isn't paralysed by depression for starters . . . . Before I even get onto Doctors that see me and medications that work . . .
Unfortunately, even I am aware that those don't come with 3 for 2 offers from Boots or in nicely pre-wrapped gift packs! In comparison to my real wish list, toiletries, books and scarfs all seem totally irrelevant and pointless. The truth is if I can't get a new body, there is really very little I actually want! Illness puts all the naff commerciality of Christmas into perspective and makes it seem grossly inappropriate.
But I have realised one important thing - Christmas is as much about the giving as the receiving . . . The reason I have enjoyed my craft afternoon making Christmas cards so much is that fact that I like doing nice things for others - I like "giving" them something (even if it is just a bit of card, glue and glitter!). And I know that I am far from alone in enjoying the process of "giving". My parents, family and friends can not cure me and are pretty helpless in that respect, but what they can do is offer lifts, help out practically and give me gifts to cheer me up. I am probably being quite selfish when I say I don't want anything for Christmas, denying my family a rare opportunity to actually do something for me when they feel so powerless for the rest of the year. Isn't letting people "give" and allowing them the enjoyment they can get from doing so all part of the Christmas spirit?!
And Father Christmas, if you are reading this and there is some magic factory where you can source new legs, I would like a pair that not only worked, but are as long as the Duchess of Cambridge, as powerful as Jessica Ennis and with a lovely pair of high-heeled shoes on the end! Thank you!