I remember when my now 19-year-old Caleb was a young boy and how difficult Christmas was for him. Everything changes on such a big holiday. There are different foods; sleep schedules are off; people are in and out of the house; you are in and out of different houses. It can be a very loud and confusing time for a child with sensory difficulties.
For a while I tried to do everything like a neurotypical family. I failed. This made me stressed out and both Caleb and his sister Sophie felt my stress, which made them stressed out. It was a cycle that left us all exhausted and ready for a wonderful day to be over.
Since that time, I have made some small changes that may help some of you in your own families, with someone with special needs or not.
I know you hear this all the time, but try to keep things simple. Maybe this year you don't need to wrap every outside surface with lights. When I can, I do, but I have let this go when things are challenging.
Caleb was often confused by the conflicting images of Santa and Jesus at Christmas. We chose to focus on Jesus and have birthday cake complete with a candle for breakfast. This year I'm not able to make a cake, so it will be a really fun Krispy Kreme donut. Will anyone even notice I didn't spend an hour making the cake? I love family traditions so much, but sometimes they can be work that saps energy you need to lavish on your family.