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Christmas is nearly here! Here are some tips on how to make your Christmas inclusive and fun for everyone.

From last minute shopping, visits to Santa and feeding the hordes of family and friends, Christmas can be a hectic season. Presents and parties aside, Christmas is a great time to focus on what really matters – love, joy, and peace for everyone. Here are some tips to help you spread the joy and have a truly inclusive Christmas.

1. Christmas Craft and Decorations

Want ideas to keep kids busy this holiday season? How about some easy craft projects? Some ideas are:

  • Christmas sensory bins: Tinsel and non-breakable Christmas decorations make great sensory bins. Or add some red & green food dye to pasta or rice with some peppermint essential oil.
  • Christmas play dough: add peppermint essential oil or gingerbread spices to your favourite play dough recipe
  • Kinetic Snow: a twist on kinetic sand. You can find craft sand at the craft shops, add a bit of extra fine glitter

Talk to your child’s teacher, therapist or check out your local library for more ideas.

HINT: You can easily find playdough or kinetic sand recipes online, just make sure your child isn’t allergic to any of the ingredients.

2. Sensory Santa

A photo with Santa is another classic family activity. However, meeting a stranger in a big white beard can be overwhelming for some kids.

Luckily, you can now book a session with a ‘Sensitive Santa’ or ‘Sensory Santa’ at some shopping centres. These sessions are designed to be more relaxed and held outside of usual centre opening hours.

Check your local shopping centre websites for sessions.

Tip: Set up your own photo shoot in the comfort of home, with someone familiar like Dad or Grandpa dressed up as Santa.

3. Food glorious food

Family feasts are one of the best things about Christmas. But what if your little one hates turkey?

It’s okay to adapt Christmas to your child’s needs. If your child has specific eating habits, feel free to bring a dish catered to them.

If you are hosting, catering for everyone’s needs can be challenging.

It’s best to talk to people early to find out their needs. You may even want to use a caterer for those with dietary needs, to take the pressure of yourself.

For a budget friendly alternative, go potluck and get everyone to bring their favourite dish to share.

Also, food is only part of the fun. Make other things a focus, like singing carols together, playing silly games, or simply telling stories and jokes.

Tip: Keep things simple and share the responsibility.

4. Not so silent night

A big noisy family gathering can also be overwhelming. See if you can find or set aside a quiet space for a bit of time out.

Alternatively, bring along some noise cancelling headphones and an iPad with their favourite games.

If they like a weighted blanket, bring that along with any favourite toys.

Tip: Christmas can be messy and noisy! Organise some down time or a walk outdoors for a break from the madness.

5. Embrace the mess

The picture-perfect Christmas is a myth! Embrace the mess and if things don’t quite go to plan, try not to stress.

The most important thing is being with the people we love.

So how are you making Christmas an inclusive celebration?

Kids unwrapping gifts.