Silhouette of a woman looking out the window and pondering something next to a Christmas tree. In front of the tree is an unwrapped present of a broken heart.

Canceling Holiday Plans Is Never Easy

Last updated: December 2022

Canceling is never part of the plan, but it does happen. People with lupus are familiar with this and the kind of misunderstanding that follows. Whether it is the holidays, big life events, or just a small get-together with friends, it's never easy to cancel. We asked our Lupus.net contributors, "How do you let loved ones know there has to be a change of plans?" Here is what they shared.

Give a realistic warning to loved ones

An illustrated portrait of advocate Ava.If I have to cancel, I try to give as much notice as possible. My husband or I will call older relatives or text younger ones to say I'm too sick or otherwise not up to it. Since my diagnosis, I've been open about my disease, and I'm usually met with understanding from family and friends. But postponing is tough because I worry I'll end up canceling twice.

Nonetheless, it's never easy to cancel. It's hard to miss out – especially when it happens repeatedly. Many times my husband and sons will go while I stay home. They'll take photos or describe the day's events to me in detail afterward. However, I always feel disappointed to cancel something I was looking forward to. – Ava

Suggest an alternative

An illustrated portrait of advocate Racquel.Canceling plans always makes me feel bad. Especially when the plans were made so far in advance. I often feel guilty for canceling. Usually, I send a text to let them know, and I explain the situation fully. I feel most times, family and friends are supportive, but I often feel they may judge me based on what they see me able to do before falling ill. They will often try and suggest an alternative like potluck dinners or even sending dinner over and having a virtual get-together. – Racquel

Plan ahead

An illustrated portrait of advocate Jokiva.Our plans are usually made a month ahead of time, so there is really no change of plans. I definitely don’t explain to my family what I’m going through. But my mom understands because she has the same thing as me. Sometimes families suggest different meals and different places, like cabins, but those plans should be made ahead of time. Our family is so uptight about planning ahead of time because we don’t like frustrating holidays. – Jokiva

Send a group text

An illustrated portrait of advocate Gabrielle.It depends on the loved one. Depending on our communication style, a text will do. For others, I may feel the need to give context. I need to work on getting to the point to not overexplain my reasons and be more direct. I hate canceling, especially when I really want to do the thing or go to the event. The good thing is that I'm feeling less and less guilty because I know I'm taking care of myself.

My good friends who understand my limitations always suggest alternatives and reassure me that it's more than OK to cancel and reschedule. – Gabrielle

An illustrated portrait of advocate Geri.It really depends on how I feel at the moment. But, most likely, I will send a group text. It takes less effort, and it still gets the message across. I usually don't go into too much detail since they all know about my lupus, so its not news to them as to why I have to cancel. Of course, I feel bad. I would love to celebrate with family and friends, but they are very understanding. This isn't the first time that they are receiving a text like this, and they know how some things are out of my control. But my health trumps everything, and I must do what is right for me.

Whenever I cancel, especially if it's a group thing, I tell them to go on as planned. I don't want anything postponed because of me. 'Cause who knows what might happen the next time? Sometimes, I would video chat with them to feel like I was there, even for a short while. – Geri

Sometimes, it just stinks

An illustrated portrait of advocate Amber.Changing plans and missing holidays is hard. But for the most part, my family understands. I missed Thanksgiving dinner last year because I wasn’t feeling well. I just called my mom and told her I wouldn’t be coming. They were sad but understood. They promised to save me a plate to get it when I felt better. Which I went and got the next day! As for changing plans with friends, some get it. Others do not. – Amber

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