Senior women sipping coffee in front of Christmas tree

Caregiving During the Holiday Season

Despite the joy they often bring, the holidays can also bring extra stress—especially to caregivers. After all, it’s hard to juggle decorating the house, making big family meals, buying presents and caring for another person full time. But as a caregiver, you deserve to enjoy the holidays just as much as anyone else does. If you’re having trouble doing it all during this time of year, here are some suggestions on what you can change when it comes to caregiving during the holiday season.

Stick to Simple Holiday Activities

The best holiday activities are the ones you and your family can enjoy together, without adding stress to your day. Luckily, there are lots of holiday traditions that don’t require too much effort or money to do together. So skip the complicated, time-consuming activities in favor of the simple, fun ones.

You could plan to drive or walk around looking at Christmas lights, or perhaps go caroling. Going to watch a holiday play or musical can also get you and your loved ones excited for the season. If it’s easiest to stay inside the house for the holidays, decorating cookies or watching Christmas movies while you drink hot chocolate with the family is a fun, relaxing way to spend the season. If you choose activities based on your budget, free time and the health and safety of the person you’re caring for, you can’t go wrong.

Take Time Out for Relaxation

As you plan holiday activities, make sure you take time to do something for yourself. While you’re likely going to be focused on finding things the whole family will enjoy, don’t forget that you’re part of that family, which means you should consider your own enjoyment, too. So if there’s an activity you really don’t like, don’t feel pressured to go along with it just because everyone else wants to.

Maybe your loved ones want to go sledding on a snowy day, but you hate the cold and would rather be warm inside the house, reading your favorite book. Don’t hesitate to let your family know this so they can make plans to go on their own, while you stay home and enjoy some peace and quiet—especially if they arrange to bring the loved one you’re caring for. You deserve an occasional break from caregiving during the holiday season, so find some time to take one. Even if no one else can watch your loved one, you should plan some time when you can both stay home, relax and watch a Christmas movie instead of constantly hustling to and from holiday activities.

Lean on Family for Help with Caregiving During the Holiday Season

The holiday season is about spending time with your loved ones. In fact, for many families, this is the one time of year when everyone gets together. So if you’re struggling as a caregiver, this may be your chance to let your loved ones know you could use some help.

Whether you have siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles or close friends coming into town, make sure they’re aware of how much time you put into caregiving. Many people have no experience caring for another adult full-time, and if they don’t live near you, they might have no idea how hard it can be. If they come into town expecting you to have a lot of free time to entertain them, this is a good time to discuss your tight schedule and the limitations you have as a result. They might even offer to help so you can go Christmas shopping alone. And of course, don’t be afraid to ask for help if they don’t offer first, especially if they’re close to the relative you’re caring for.

Don’t Put Too Much Pressure on Yourself To Be Perfect

Caregiving during the holiday season is hard enough without comparing yourself to the characters in your favorite Christmas movie. So keep in mind that now is the time to be realistic. Maybe you have expectations to decorate your house perfectly, cook the best turkey or ham and have the cutest gingerbread house around. But no one can do all that without a lot of help, especially if they’re caring for others.

It’s better for your sanity if you keep your expectations realistic. This might result in not sending Christmas cards this year, or doing most of your shopping online. It might also mean assigning everyone a dish to bring for dinner rather than doing all the cooking yourself, or keeping the Christmas lights simple this year. But in the end, you’ll be happier if you put less pressure on yourself during the holidays.

And when you’re happier and less stressed, the people around you notice and start to feel the same. So if you want a truly joyous holiday this year, let these tips on caregiving during the holiday season guide you toward a simpler time filled with love to share with your family and friends.


If you have questions regarding caregiving contact us at (978) 282-9551 or use our facility locator tool.

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