Christmas With Chemical Sensitivities

I was reading a blog by a light-hearted “normal” man with MCS and his struggles to purchase gifts for family members.   


It is even more difficult to to be on the receiving end of gifts for those with chemical sensitivities.  Actually occasions can be a nightmare. 

It sounds a bit crazy to dread getting gifts but it's an extremely difficult task for someone suffering from chemical sensitivities. For the past ten years Christmas has been a challenge.  One bright spot is that I finally found a tree that works for me. 

Artificial trees are often made from PVC and other chemicals which caused reactions.  I could not handle the sap and molds in a wild cut tree being inside the house, buying a farmed tree also contains many pesticides, we resorted to using a dry stick for a few years and decorated it only with glass ornaments, last year I finally found this ornament tree which is beautiful and had nothing that bothered me.

I honestly feel terrible when someone gives me a gift and I can not accept it...It's the thought that counts right?  Well I may sound a bit cantankerous by saying this, but if you are giving a gift to someone with MCS it truly IS the thought that does count and it takes much more thought and effort than simply buying a generic gift, wrapping it in toxic colored papers and tape and handing it over with a smile.

I honestly would rather receive nothing than have to deal with the look of disappointment when I can not keep a gift given to me.   After ten years, my husband finally accepted wrapping my gifts in grocery bags, keeping the receipts and opening the gifts outside.  Santa knows he can't enter my safe house so he leaves our gifts outside. Lol

If you are giving a gift to someone with MCS please do not take it personal if we do not rip it open with excitement.  I look at wrapped gifts as ticking time bombs.

To make it easier for those willing to attempt to purchase a gift for someone with MCS let me give you a little low-down.

First I'll say everyone with MCS is completely different and their reactions may be completely different so what I post here may not entirely work for everyone.

Most importantly you need to really get to know the person, their reaction, wants & needs.

Next, if you are going to be insulted that your efforts were not appreciated...Don't be or don’t bother.  It is very likely that your gift will be opened with caution and may have to be returned or left to air-out for a period of time before it can be enjoyed.   

Your efforts are appreciated; just know that no matter how hard you try, there are many things that someone could react to. From the wrapping paper to the plastics and glue on the tape, ink on cards, and contamination of scents from your home or the store in which it was bought.  Items purchased at stores which sell scented products are often contaminated from scents in the store and have to be aired out or washed several times before someone with sensitivities can enjoy them, if at all.

I've had people take the "safe route" with money and a card.  The paper and ink in cards can be terrible and money stinks the high heavens being handled by so many people. Personally I prefer e-cards and gift cards.

The plastic on some gift cards can be bothersome but can be placed inside a food grade baggie and this works for me.  I have found the easiest way to accept money gifts is by gift card or through Paypal or bank transfer. The bestower can leave a little digital message and the recipient does not have to deal with reactions.

For gifts I have found the wrapping to often be worse than the gift.  And just in case, I open any gifts outside wearing gloves.  Be aware that if you do decide to purchase a gift for someone with sensitivities, they may have what seems to be odd practices and rituals when accepting the gift. Go with the flow, don’t take it personal, it has nothing to do with you.

For me I open everything outside then immediately hang it on the line to air it out.  So anyone giving me a gift can not expect me to run in an immediately enjoy my gift.

Please also include the receipt if at all possible as items may have to be returned no matter how much effort was given, sometimes things still cause reactions.

I do appreciate gifts really, but I am not wasteful and would hate to keep a gift which I can not use.

What works out best for me is a reusable grocery bag (aired out if possible) of organic foods and goodies (all ingredients must be organic for foods, I also have some food sensitivities so again, it is important to know the recipient)

Sometimes it's best to simply ask..."I would love to get you a gift, would you accept a __?"  Surprises can be a disaster.

Herbs and spices shipped directly from Mountain Rose is always a nice treat.

Or just simply an e-card. Or even better, an e-card with an offer of your services, maybe to help with chores, bake something organic or offer assistance for those needing it.

Remember this holiday season “The manner of giving is worth more than the gift.”
 

Deck the halls with boughs of holly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Dizzy spells & melancholy
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Have a drink of GM egg nog,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la. 
Nauseated, faint & brain fog,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Smell the noxious perfume gift set,
Fa la la la la, la la la la. 
Anger, rage and many regrets,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Say that my symptoms just don’t measure,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
While I tell you off with Pleasure,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Fast away this season has passed,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Gifts outside until they out-gas,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Sing we joyous, all together,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
In hopes the environment gets better.
Fa la la la la, la la la la. 

:D

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