When I was a teenager, I would watch my mother on Christmas Day, spending hours in the kitchen to produce a hot roast meal. She would sit at the end of the table in the summer heat, pouring sweat after hours in the kitchen, and I would say to myself, "I am never, ever, going to put myself through that."
When I was first married, I went to the opposite extreme. Christmas lunch was cold ham, and cold vegetables (even canned vegetables), and for the very first year I even used disposable plates so I wasn't caught in the kitchen doing dishes either. I had done baking beforehand and did have home-made cake, pudding and other treats. I just wasn't spending Christmas Day in the kitchen.
Over the years, as the kids arrived and grew, I found myself spending more and more time in the kitchen for Christmas. Anything that could be baked in advance, I still did in the days and weeks leading up to Christmas. But it was still a heavy day of work. (Especially as, in ministry, I often had at least two Christmas Day worship services to lead first thing in the morning.) Somewhere along the way we began to start Christmas with a cooked breakfast as well, so I would cook breakfast for the family, then rush out to do the services and then come back to cook lunch.
I've toned things down quite a bit since I first got sick. For a couple of years the kids and I had Christmas with a friend of mine. It was much simpler than I'd been used to - and honestly, I think we all enjoyed ourselves more.
For years now, I've been paring things back, simplifying, so that I didn't work myself into having a lupus flare.
This year, I'm doing nothing. Seriously. My daughter's hosting Christmas, and she and her partner are doing all the work. They've told me to just show up. This year, my only job is to enjoy the time with my family (and perhaps spoil my grandchild.)
Can I encourage you to not work yourself into a flare, either? However you celebrate Christmas, remember it's not about how much work you do or what you achieve. Christmas is about love. It's about God's love for the world, and it's about our love for each other. Please, save as much energy as you can, just to enjoy being with the people you love. (And if you can spend the day somewhere air conditioned, all the better.)
I hope and pray all you lovely lupies out there have a wonderful, peaceful, Christmas, full of love and joy, and without pain.