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Photo of Chloe in a Santa hat in front of her Christmas tree

Enjoying the festive season with MS

tingly mum

Avoiding burnout over Christmas is essential for tingly mum. Find out how she makes Christmas work for her. 

Christmas for me means family time and making it special for the kids.

But I’m starting to think I should be making it special for me too. Historically, I’ve been completely burnt out by Christmas Day because I’ve been trying to cram so much in. But this year I’m going to make a change in the hope of keeping the awful fatigue at bay.

Knowing my limits

This year I’m going to try and be a bit more measured. After a strange Christmas period last year, I’m determined not to get too over excited and take part in every Christmas activity going. This ultimately leads to burn out. And if I get tired and fatigued, my walking is affected. Meaning I struggle to do the things I really need to do.

I’m going to take it all in my stride and be organised. Wrapping will be done in good time so I can enjoy Christmas Eve and have an early night. There are certain tasks I do each year, like make a door wreath. But that might have to be an optional extra instead of paramount. 

Fatigue-friendly activities

It leads me on to traditions I can do with the kids. I know I’ll be able to do these every year, regardless of fatigue.

Baking is always a great Christmas activity to do with the kids, and it’s low impact. I can sit down for most of it as I supervise. And making the Christmas cake is top of the list. This year we’re going to do it together and start a little tradition. My daughter loves baking and creating in the kitchen. And at 10 years old is now old enough to do most of it herself, so that’s a big help.

Maybe I should also relinquish the task of decorating the house, and leave it up to the kids? I’ll just have to get over any wonky decorations and patches of the Christmas tree that are lacking!

Enjoying Christmas

Though it may sound selfish, self preservation is the key to surviving the festive spirit with MS. And doing things in moderation. Don’t get bogged down with the stuff you think you need to do. Christmas is about family, friends, and love, so enjoy it.

Talking of moderation, diet is always a sticking point at Christmas! Last year I followed a low saturated fat diet for my MS. I created a great Christmas cake recipe that was MS diet friendly. Why not try it out?

I hope your festive season is relaxed and wonderful this year.

You can read more about Chloe’s life with MS through her blog. You can also find Chloe’s Christmas cake recipe below.

Low saturated fat Christmas cake recipe

This recipe is great for people following an MS-friendly diet, and is also vegan.


  • 2 tbsp ground or milled chia or flaxseed, mixed with 110ml water
  • 800g dried fruit (why not mix it up? I add in chopped dried apricots and chopped dates to mixed fruit)
  • 200g glace cherries
  • 200g chopped nuts (optional)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 175g Light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50g treacle
  • 275ml sunflower oil
  • 500ml of boiling water (or I like to use Earl grey tea…it gives a lovely richness)
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 500g self-raising flour
  • 150ml sherry or brandy

To decorate (optional)

  • 4 tbsp apricot jam, melted
  • 1 kg readymade marzipan
  • 1 kg readymade white sugar paste


  • Preheat the oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2.
  • Line a deep 20cm cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment. Put to one side.
  • Mix the chia/flaxseed with 110ml water. Leave to sit for 5 minutes until gel-like and thick.
  • Put the dried fruit, zests and juice, rum, coconut oil and sugar into a large pan over a medium heat. Give it a good mix, bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Tip the mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool for 30 minutes. Alternatively, you could put all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and heat on full in the microwave for 5 minutes.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the fruit mixture along with the chia seed mix. Stir well, making sure there are no pockets of flour.
  • Tip into your prepared tin, level the top with a spoon and bake in the centre of the oven for 2 hours.
  • Remove the cake from the oven, poke holes in it with a skewer and spoon over 2 tbsp of brandy/sherry (optional). Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.
  • To store, peel off the baking parchment, then wrap in cling film. Optional: feed the cake with 1-2 tbsp alcohol every fortnight, until you ice it. Don’t feed the cake for the final week to give the surface a chance to dry before icing.
  • To ice, I coated the cake in melted apricot jam, then covered my cake in marzipan and sugar paste. Then go to town on the decorations. I topped with green sugar paste holly leaves and red sugar paste berries. I tend tied a ribbon around the cake.