Do it your way
It's the run up to Christmas and although this is an exciting time full of wonder, joy and fun for many people this is also a time of stress, overwhelm and distress for some others.
For people who have got additional needs such as autism or sensory processing disorder too much stimulation can be a bad thing. This can include too much noise, too many bright lights, strange smells and changes to routines.
In our household we have learnt over the years to navigate this period in a way that suits us, rather than trying to fit in with what others are doing or what we felt we should have been doing before.
We do have a Christmas tree but we keep the decorations and lights to a minimum, not too many colours going on all at once. We also have to be mindful of the smell of the tree as if it's too strong this can be overpowering for someone who is sensitive with different smells.
We limit the number of visitors that come to the house. We also manage the amount of time they can stay and ensure we do lots of preparation work beforehand so everyone knows whats happening when and what they can expect. No sudden surprises, as much as possible.
We manage the amount of exposure to screen time and T.V's and ensure there is a balance with outside time in nature to rebalance everyone and replenish everyone's energy.
We have a traditional lunch but don't go crazy with loads of extravagent different foods or luxury foods. We pretty much keep it simple and routine based as much as possible to ensure everyone feels secure and safe knowing what's happening.
Pressure is OFF. We take the foot off the gas, have down time together and ensure there are lots of spaces for those that are feeling overwhelmed to go to calm and centre themselves.
Most important of all we are all present with each other. There is a significant reduction in social media and connecting with people on the mobiles. We are present with our kids, tactile with them and just be with them, in the moment. Ignore all of the on line images of people having the "perfect Christmas" or the "must have's".
Truth be told you don't need any of that. Just do Christmas your way and it will be just fantastic.