We’re into the last few days before Christmas and as preparations get more hectic I thought I’d share the key things that have made getting ready for the season’s festivities easier for me this year. Here are my top five tips for an accessible Christmas:
1. Online shopping is excellent. It’s meant I’ve been able to take time and care over choosing people’s gifts. I enjoy planning what I’m going to give to my friends and family but because my mobility is poor, this process would have been much more challenging and rushed without the Internet. The only difficulty is finding companies that pay their tax!
2. Paper tape has given me back some independence. In what’s proved to be a stroke of genius, I bought a couple of reels of colourful paper tape last month. My chaotic arm movements are not compatible with scissors, and that makes wrapping presents hard. But paper tape that I can easily rip into the right sizes without scissors means I can still do a lot of wrapping myself – as long as the wrapping-paper itself is pre-cut!
3. I love Portable Keepcups. I always use cups with lids to prevent me spilling drink all over the place. I affectionately refer to these as my SNBs (Special Needs Beakers). I have a few of these at home, at work and at friends’ houses. But during the festive season I’m much more likely to get caught at an event without one. So I’ve taken to keeping a plastic Keepcup in my emergency bag. They’re lighter, less conspicuous and better for wine than my SNBs.
4. Plastic and fabric Christmas baubles. Poppy has incredible enthusiasm for Christmas and has taken a great deal of pleasure in decorating our tree. But you won’t find any glass baubles on our evergreen. My tics don’t get on well with breakable objects so we’ve got a fantastic selection of bouncy plastic and soft fabric decorations.
5. For me, an accommodating sibling has taken a lot of worry out of Christmas. I’d been anxious about this period not because it’s a time when there’s a lot to do, but because I have lots of time off work. My support during the day is funded by Access to Work, but when I’m on leave this isn’t available. Additionally, many of my regular support workers are away which makes finding help even harder. Thankfully Fat Sister is very accommodating and is up for hanging out whenever she’s not at work.
I’m sure these pointers are just the tip of the Christmas ice-berg. Please add your own suggestions below. For more festive tips check out ideas on how to have an Autism friendly Christmas, or Mind’s 10 ways to reduce Christmas stress.
“The 8:26 to London Bridge has been shut down by passing angels.”