The upcoming holiday season is supposed to be a time of joy and cheer, celebrating and time spent with family. 

What it can actually become (please tell me we aren’t the only ones…) is a time of stress and too much spending, kids throwing tantrums in stores and more stress. 

My goals this year include creating a less stressful, relaxing holiday season for my family, and involving our son with special needs as much as possible in our holiday traditions. 

While every family celebrates differently this time of year I hope you can all take something away from this post to make it more enjoyable.  

1. Reduce the stress of shopping for many “perfect” gifts

I love this guideline for holiday shopping for your children: buy something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.   

That’s it.

That means you could be purchasing just four items for each of your children, doesn’t that sound simple?! 

I love it! 

2. Do your best to include your child with special needs in the family traditions

This will look different for each and every child depending on whether or not they are able to participate physically or have the desire to do so. 

Even when our son doesn’t appear to be interested (or is sound asleep) we tend to bring him into the action and take pictures of our whole family celebrating. 

It’s a challenge for me to get over the idea of having a picture of both of our children sitting on Santa’s lap smiling each year. 

Not going to happen. 

Do your best not to aim for perfection (note to self) but to keep the focus on having fun and doing things together when you can.

3. I found a great idea online somewhere that suggests having your children play games with your holiday cards

Sort the cards into piles containing snowmen, Christmas trees, Santa Claus, or photos. 

Or use the cards to create a triangle shape, like a tree. 

These little activities would be great to have your child work on as you tend to some baking or quickly wrap a few gifts.

4. One of our favourite traditions is baking cookies

For your child with special needs, it is important to find a part of this process that he or she would enjoy helping with. 

If you child has sensory processing issues you already know using the hand mixer will most likely not be the best part to have them help with. 

Our son is unable to hold a spoon or mixer on his own, but he enjoys helping if I can do hand over hand mixing with him and help him hold the spoon. 

If your child reads ask them to help read the recipe to you if the sensory stuff isn’t their thing. 

This can be a wonderfully special time of year if the focus is kept on the right things.

What are your family’s favorite holiday traditions? 

Any tips on how to involve your child with special needs?

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