Christmas is a magical time of year, filled with joy, love, and togetherness. However, for people and families touched by autism, the holiday season can come with its unique set of challenges. The pressure to make everything perfect can be overwhelming. But fear not, because we’ve gathered some valuable tips to help you have a stress-free and autism-friendly Christmas celebration.
Read below for our top tips for a stress-free, autism-friendly Christmas.
1. Countdown with Advent Calendars
Advent calendars are not just for chocolates; they’re also a great tool to create a visual countdown to Christmas. This can help people anticipate the upcoming festivities, reducing anxiety about the big day.
2. Know your social limit
The holiday season often brings a flurry of social gatherings and events. While it’s wonderful to spend time with loved ones, it’s equally important to know your socialising limit. Don’t hesitate to say no when you need a break or some alone time.
3. Stagger your decorations
Sudden changes in the environment can be overwhelming for people with autism. Instead of decking out your entire home in one go, consider staggering your decorations. Start with the Christmas tree and add other festive elements gradually over time.
4. Maintain routines
Consistency can be comforting in a season filled with change. Try to stick to your regular meal and bedtime routines as much as possible. Familiar routines can provide a sense of security during the holiday hustle and bustle.
5. Let visitors know
Inform your visitors about your expectations and any accommodations that may be necessary to ensure a smoother house visit.
6. Find local autism-friendly days out
Check social media and local listings for autism-friendly events like visits with Santa or sensory-friendly pantomimes. These outings can provide enjoyable experiences tailored to the needs of individuals with autism.
7. Present opening
Opening presents can be an exciting yet overwhelming experience. Reduce sensory overload by avoiding crinkly wrapping paper or consider alternatives like reusable gift bags. And don’t forget the batteries for those electronic gifts!
8. Xmas meal
Remember, Christmas is not just about the traditional turkey and trimmings. It’s about sharing moments with loved ones. If the classic feast doesn’t appeal to you, feel free to create a meal that brings you joy. The most important thing is being together and making memories.