Purple, pink and teal butterflies make an appearance in Cindy Loftus’ home over the winter holidays.
In fact, they’re now the annual theme of her Christmas tree – a celebratory reflection of her battle with thyroid cancer. Making the tree even more special are trinkets gifted by friends and family.
“When I started decorating the tree with the colors and symbols of thyroid cancer it was difficult to find ornaments,” Loftus said. “So, I supplemented them with ones sent by those closest to me.”
Does the tree spur conversations about Loftus’ thyroid cancer? Of course, she said.
Decorating the tree in homage to her cancer is how Loftus approaches the holidays. It makes it easy to talk about her ongoing journey with the disease. It’s more than that, though. The thematic tree is a way to embrace a season that can often be stressful.
Some traditions, like baking cookies, come with their own sort of Zen energy. Memories are often forged over the mixing of brown sugar, vanilla and chocolate chips. Then there’s the fresh-out-of-the-oven aroma, an instant link to childhood. Throw in holiday tunes and a crackling fire and the scenario sounds downright idyllic, right?
For some, the thought of holiday hoopla may feel downright exhausting. Cancer can, after all, bring with it fatigue, pain and nausea. One gift loved ones can bestow upon the weary is a little seasonal pitching in: decorating the tree, wrapping presents and arriving with a pre-cooked holiday meal. It may also be time for long-held traditions to evolve, like ditching holiday cards, scaling back décor or handing over the Hanukkah or Christmas Eve dinner hosting reins.
Another option: reveling in solitude. Not up for the five-hour plane flight to see the grandkids? Schedule some Skype or FaceTime. Can’t face Secret Santa or White Elephant parties? Bravo for politely saying no.
If, upon sinking into your old recliner, it occurs to you that there could be no more comfortable place on earth, don’t worry. Just be sure to celebrate your way, even if that means streaming Stranger Things episodes with your feet propped up on Aunt Judy’s fruitcake.