Navigating Christmas as a person living with Diabetes

Charlie Granby

It’s almost here, the big one, the day we’ve all been waiting for! 


For many, Christmas is a time for enjoyment, love and celebration. Reflecting on the year that has been, and gearing up for the new year ahead! It can also be a difficult time for some, and we want to try and alleviate some of the weight.


If you are a person living with diabetes, whether you have been diagnosed for 5, 10 or 50 years years, or if you are newly diagnosed, Christmas can feel a little overwhelming, no matter where you are in your journey. With lots happening, and a big focus on food, there can be the pressure of having ‘perfect’ blood sugars throughout the holiday season, the mental strain of managing diabetes while trying to enjoy the day, and also dealing with comments from family and friends about diabetes if you want to indulge.


Sophie (@typeonesoph)  and I were diagnosed with type one diabetes last year, both in our twenties and very much used to our usual Christmas routines! On my first Christmas after diagnosis, I knew I didn’t want my diabetes to stop me from having a ‘normal’ day,  however it did. I drank two glasses of champagne  without fully understanding the impact it could and would have on my blood sugar levels. I was hypo for two hours, unconscious and felt awful for the rest of the day. This year, I am going to try and plan ahead a little, using Quin and my Dexcom, to try and have a less demanding diabetes day and enjoy!


This year has been weird enough, so we have come up with a list of tips and advice, to help you navigate Christmas as a newly diagnosed, or someone who’s been living with diabetes for a while but is looking for some new ideas! 


  • If you don’t mind going for walks, schedule in a crisp [Christmas] day walk in the afternoon if you feel your sugars are being a bit stubborn
  • Give yourself grace. It’s a big day, and you’re doing the best you can!
  • Quin can help you keep track of what insulin you have on board and the effect it is having – this is super helpful and can help avoid hypos/hypers!
  • Try and carb count the best you can (if you usually carb count) but don’t stress if it goes a bit wrong. 
  • If you’re super organised, and know what you will eat, PLAN! Pre-plan your carb count so you don’t need to worry about it on the actual day.
  • If you are drinking alcohol, remember to have a carby snack before bed to avoid the drop overnight.
  • Enjoy it! One day a year is not going to cause you long-term damage if you just decide to go for it and eat what you want (and of course, give insulin). 
  • Allow yourself a little more leeway with your ranges. If you wear a CGM, you could set your high alert a little higher to avoid feeling frustrated with the alerts going off. 
  • Be prepared with your low snacks.
  • Accept that your blood sugars probably won’t be the best and that is okay!
  • Stay hydrated! 
  • If people are being a little or very  ignorant, making unnecessary comments about how you’re eating/injecting at the table/testing your blood, trust in yourself. You are doing great, there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing. They are the problem, not you. This is your life, and that is ok.


So there we have it. We hope that some of our tips will help, and that you can enjoy your day, no matter where you are! Diabetes is so personal and unique, and it’s definitely not a one size fits all, but I think we can all agree that we should be able to enjoy Christmas without our little pal Beetus stealing all the limelight right?


Enjoy yourself, stay safe, and Merry Christmas, from all of us here at Quin!

Charlie Granby