Connect with others who understand.

sign up log in
About MyParkinsonsTeam

Enjoying the Holidays While Living With Parkinson's

Posted on October 24, 2019

Living with Parkinson's disease (PD) may change your holidays, but you can still have enjoyable and meaningful celebrations. Although Parkinson's may make some holiday traditions challenging, it doesn't mean you can't enjoy connecting with friends and family during the holiday season. By communicating your limitations due to Parkinson's, being flexible, and adjusting your expectations, you can help make sure the holidays are still enjoyable and memorable despite Parkinson's.


Communicate Your Needs
Let your loved ones know that connecting with them over the holidays is as important as ever to you, but Parkinson's is making it hard to plan as usual due to symptoms like difficulty walking and posture changes. Added stress can worsen symptoms of Parkinson's, so you need to put your health first or risk worsening your condition.

  • Don't be afraid to say no.
  • It can help to use direct "I" statements. For instance, "I am not feeling well enough to host this year" is better than "Having everyone over is just too stressful." Communicating in this way makes your needs clear without making others feel accused or burdensome.
  • Even if you usually maintain healthy boundaries, the holidays are a time when they may be tested. If a friend or family member tries to make you feel guilty for setting your boundaries, gently remind them that Parkinson's doesn't take the holidays off, as much as you wish it did.

Be Flexible
Instead of saying "no," say "yes" to something else. If a family tradition no longer works for you since you or your loved one developed PD, it may be time to suggest an update.

  • If you can't travel as usual, consider offering to host. Ask others to bring potluck dishes and help clean up so you don't wind up overdoing it.
  • If you usually host the gathering but can't do it this year, encourage someone else to host instead. They may be delighted to welcome everyone to their home for a change.
  • If you always bring a beloved dish, pass the treasured recipe on to a loved one like you would a family heirloom, or shine the limelight on another chef in the family and invite them to bring their favorite dish.
  • If you can't bring yourself to give up the party, think of ways to save time and energy. Use paper plates, plastic flatware, and disposable tablecloths for easy cleanup. Make decorating (or de-decorating) part of the event and get everyone to help. Plan a low-impact meal such as a stew that simmers all day in the crock pot with little prep work or tending.

If it's just not possible to get together in one place this year, consider using a video chat service such as Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime to have a special holiday call on a smartphone or laptop. During a video chat, you can:

  • Watch them open gifts
  • Have them show you the decorations around the house
  • Read a holiday story or poem to the children
  • Sing favorite holiday songs together

Adjust Your Expectations
Even without a chronic illness like Parkinson's, holidays often come with high expectations that lead to disappointment and stress. Letting go of the illusion of a "perfect" holiday can help you keep expectations realistic and focus on what's most important about the holidays. For many people, that means connecting with loved ones, being thankful for what you have, and finding hope for the new year.

Here are some mindful tips from Johns Hopkins Medicine for adjusting holiday expectations:

  • Accept that your holidays won't be perfect and will be different from celebrations in years past.
  • Focus on what really counts. Find things to be grateful for and look for new ways to connect with loved ones.
  • If you get into a conflict with someone over the holidays, take a few breaths before you react. Try to stay compassionate and react with kindness.
  • As you reflect on last year, be kind to yourself and let go of any negativity. As you look forward to next year, make smaller, gradual resolutions rather than huge goals that will be difficult to achieve.

During the holidays and year-round, the members of MyParkinsonsTeam are here for each other. Joining MyParkinsonsTeam means gaining a support group of thousands of others with Parkinson's who understand exactly what you're going through.

Here are some conversations from MyParkinsonsTeam members about navigating the holiday season with PD:

Have you found ways to celebrate the holidays despite Parkinson's?
Share in the comments below or post on MyParkinsonsTeam.

A MyParkinsonsTeam Member said:

Have a blessed weekend

posted 10 months ago

hug (5)

Recent articles

Bsp af 6
Thousands of members of MyParkinsonsTeam connect with one another and read each other's stories...

Four Books About Parkinson's Disease You Should Read

Thousands of members of MyParkinsonsTeam connect with one another and read each other's stories...
Mht myparkinsonsteam article carousel managing parkinsons disease motor fluctuations
Article written by Mary K. Talbot Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that sends signals between nerve...

Managing Parkinson's Disease Motor Fluctuations

Article written by Mary K. Talbot Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that sends signals between nerve...
Mht myparkinsonsteam article carousel tips and lifestyle changes
Article written by Kelly Crumrin Most people who begin Levodopa treatment for Parkinson’s can get...

Tips and Lifestyle Changes to Improve "Off" Time in Parkinson's

Article written by Kelly Crumrin Most people who begin Levodopa treatment for Parkinson’s can get...
Mht myparkinsonsteam carousel what is dyskinesia like
Article written by Laurie Berger If you’re experiencing dyskinesia — jerky, involuntary movements...

What Is Dyskinesia Like?

Article written by Laurie Berger If you’re experiencing dyskinesia — jerky, involuntary movements...
Mht ad treatments thumb
Article written by Kelly Crumrin Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder that causes motor...

Treatments for Parkinson’s and Parkinsonism

Article written by Kelly Crumrin Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder that causes motor...
Coronavirus
Article written by Kelly Crumrin According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...

Canceling Is Kindness: Keeping Safe From COVID-19 With Parkinson's

Article written by Kelly Crumrin According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...
Mht ad thepathtodiagnosis2 thumb
Article written by Kelly Crumrin The path to a diagnosis of Parkinson’s can be a long and...

Parkinson’s – The Path to Diagnosis

Article written by Kelly Crumrin The path to a diagnosis of Parkinson’s can be a long and...
Mht ad cause thumb
Article written by Kelly Crumrin The cause of most cases of Parkinson’s disease is unknown. While...

What Causes Parkinson’s?

Article written by Kelly Crumrin The cause of most cases of Parkinson’s disease is unknown. While...
Mht ad types thumb
Article written by Kelly Crumrin Parkinsonism is a syndrome, or collection of symptoms,...

Types of Parkinson’s

Article written by Kelly Crumrin Parkinsonism is a syndrome, or collection of symptoms,...
Mht ad sideeffectsandparkinsons thumb
Article written by Kelly Crumrin On MyParkinsonsTeam, the social network and online support group...

Side Effects and Parkinson's

Article written by Kelly Crumrin On MyParkinsonsTeam, the social network and online support group...
MyParkinsonsTeam My Parkinson's disease Team

Two Ways to Get Started with MyParkinsonsTeam

Become a Member

Connect with others who are living with Parkinson's disease. Get members only access to emotional support, advice, treatment insights, and more.

sign up

Become a Subscriber

Get the latest articles about Parkinson's disease sent to your inbox.

Not now, thanks

Privacy policy
MyParkinsonsTeam My Parkinson's disease Team

Thank you for signing up.

close