When I think about all my regular holiday traditions during my cancer treatment, I get overwhelmed. How should I handle things?

People often approach the holidays with high expectations for cheerful celebration and close family time. For people coping with cancer, the reality of holidays can be very different. The following tips might help:

Set limitations and make realistic goals for your holiday season.

Decide what events are most important for you to attend. Remember that it’s OK to say no and be picky about how you choose to expend your energy.

Do your holiday shopping online or make donations to a charity in loved ones’ names.

Think about what questions might be asked concerning your cancer and plan how you will answer them.

Don’t over-commit and put undue pressure on yourself. If you usually host the holiday meal, and you don’t feel up to task this year, let each person bring part of the meal.

Ask for help with other traditions or do something simple, such as sending gift certificates or making gifts at home when and if you feel up to it.

Communicate your feelings to your family and friends.

Don’t isolate yourself, but surround yourself with supportive people who love you. Remember to take joy in spending time with friends and family.