Firefly Garden Community Manager, Claire Smyth explains why she finds Christmas a difficult time and her plans for this year. I’m mum to Daniel who is 5 and has profound and multiple learning difficulties. I’m sure I’m not the only one to find Christmas a particularly challenging time of the year.  In the early years, we tried to do all the things that I considered to be ‘Christmas Traditions’, advent calendars, visits to Santa, Christmas presents wrapped beautifully, trips to see the town lights turned on - but Daniel didn’t enjoy any of these things in fact some of them he positively hated. I’m determined to find some new traditions just for Daniel so that he can enjoy Christmas as much as his younger brother. Inspired by some amazing special needs mums, I’ve decided to do a Sensory Advent Calendar Daniel this Christmas. Daniel tends not to like anything that deviates from his normal routine and he is extremely sensory defensive. But we’re going to give this a go!

Daniel has a younger, typical brother who is 4 and last year was our first Christmas of sheer excitement and joy every morning when he got up to open his Playmobil Advent Calendar. But we really felt that Daniel was missing out - he can’t eat the chocolate and the pictures are just too small for him to focus on in regular Advent Calendars. 

So this year spurred on by Charlie asking ‘Can we get a Daniel a special surprise each day’ I've decided to do a Sensory Advent Calendar just for Daniel.

I’m not crafty or particularly creative so this could be pretty rubbish. I am armed with a large cardboard box that I am going to wrap in cheap Christmas paper and fill with 24 random items, I’m then going to encourage Daniel to lift an item out himself and explore every morning - I’m sure Charlie will be on hand to help out…

The photo above is a list of the items I’m planning to add into the box - some might need added during the month. I’ll share some photos with you all of Daniel having ‘fun’ with his Sensory Advent Calendar.

If you’re doing one with your child - we’d love to hear from you [email protected] Wish me luck! Cx

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