Chronic Christmas : Surviving the Holidays with a Chronic Illness’ by Lene Andersen Review


Lene Andersen describes her new book ‘Chronic Christmas : Surviving the Holidays with a Chronic Illness’ as “an Advent calendar full of self-care tips to help people with chronic illness savour the holiday season as never before” and that’s exactly what it is.  I love it when my expectations are met, and exceeded!

As you might expect, the book takes the format of an Advent Calendar, with each day offering up a tip or some advice for the Christmas Season.  What makes the book special is that it offers ideas for not only the person who is managing their chronic illness, but also the people around them. Their family and friends are given specific ideas on how to make the Christmas season less stressful for the chronically ill.

That alone makes the book worth its weight in gold. As someone who struggles to ask for help, now I’m just going to read out each ‘day’ to my sulking teenagers and let them know exactly what they should be doing!

There are practical tips on how to get things done, feel good tips on how to have fun while doing it and selfcare tips so you get through the whole Christmas season in one piece, and don’t crash before the day.  For me, the most important piece advice is to remember to have fun.  And with this book, you will.

The book is easy reading and entertaining while it helps you stay sane.  A lot of it you already know, but when you’re in a state about the million and three things you need to get done before Christmas Eve, you do tend to forget!  So it’s extremely helpful to have someone else write it all down, organise everything, and lay out a strategy for you!

In short, this book has done most of your thinking for you, so you can get to the part where you’re kicking back with a mug of ‘glogg’.  (The recipe is in the book, and you’re going to want it.)

‘Chronic Christmas’ gives you a window, not only into the Andersen family’s traditions, but the Danish way to celebrate the Season.  As someone with a European background, a lot of it feels comfortably familiar to me.  I’m sure there is a German word similar to ‘Hygge’ but I can’t think of it!  ‘Hygge’ is a Danish word that doesn’t have a direct English translation, but it’s the Danish way of creating happiness.  We could all use a little of that.

The book is all about inclusion, inviting people into your Christmas, keeping things simple and never forgetting what really matters – the people you love. ‘Less is more’ is a recurrent theme, and there are a lot of self-care tips too, and not the usual ones either.  Everything is tackled with a good dose of humor, and common sense, and there is good sprinkling of ‘special treats’ throughout.

One of the best tips is to remember to buy yourself a present.  Maybe make it this book.

You can buy Chronic Christmas here.



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