Coping with Cancer at Christmas



Here at Purple House Cancer Support, we are all too aware that Christmas can be an emotional and difficult time for those of us that have had a difficult year.

It is our experience that almost everyone finds Christmas an emotional time of year.

Veronica O’Leary Director of Services at Purple House Cancer Support shares some practical advice and tips for anyone affected by Cancer at Christmas time.

Be gentle with yourself and those around you. Remember that we all do the best we can in any given situation.  We are all guilty of getting stressed in the lead up to Christmas or getting annoyed if something doesn’t go to plan.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  It will pass.  Spending time and remembering loved ones is the most important thing.  Everything else can wait.


Ask for help if you feel fatigued or overwhelmed.  It can be a sign of strength to ask for help and in turn you can help someone else when they are in need.  Take a rest at various times of the day to save your energy for social occasions such as Christmas lunch.  Limit visitors to the times of the day when you feel most rested.


Keep everything as uncomplicated as possible.  Spending time over a cuppa with a friend or loved one is far more beneficial and allows time away from the hustle and bustle of shopping etc.

Involve your family, friends and particularly the children in whatever you are planning and remember that although this Christmas may be different in many ways than the previous year, it can still be enjoyable in a different way.

Listen to your feelings, everyone feels different and it is important to listen to your own body.  It is ok to feel sad and if you do, identify someone to talk to or a support service when you need to.  There is no right or wrong way to feel.

Eating and Drinking.  Often Christmas can be focused around eating and drinking.  If you have difficulty swallowing as a result of Cancer treatment, you may feel under pressure to eat or drink while at festive occasions. Stick to the foods you are comfortable with while enjoying the festive atmosphere.  If you need advice on this, talk to your GP or Cancer nurse in advance.

Avail of the services around you.  There are many local support services in every community.  They are there to help you and understand what you are going through.  For example Purple House Cancer Support Centre is open daily for support, advice and information.  See for more information or phone us on 01-2866966 or email  We are also active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, just search for Purple House Cancer Support.

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