Sensory-Friendly Holiday Tips

Written by: Members of the ODP Tech Taskforce

The holidays can be a wonderful time of year. They can also be very stimulating, even over-stimulating. There can be parties with new or unfamiliar people. There are bright lights lining the streets, new decorations around every corner, and smells of meals made for 20. While this can bring joy, for some it can be overwhelming to the senses. To help you and your family have a more successful holiday, consider some of the tips below.

  • Bring along ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones when in a noisy crowd to help drown out loud sounds.
  • For a sensitivity to new smells, a person can use a familiar lip balm or lotion to give them a familiar scent.
  • Sitting in between family members decreases the possibility of getting lightly touched or brushed up against by strangers.

For more information on visual, taste, smell, touch, and movement sensitivities, click here.

  • Keep regular appointments.
  • Decorate gradually.
  • Bring medications, medical equipment, and a copy of medical records, just in case.

For more information on schedules and traveling over the holidays, click here.

  • Open one gift at a time and space them out a little. Or take some home to open privately.
  • Explain why cold weather clothing is important. You can also lay it out ahead of time.
  • Look for sensory-friendly options of common activities, like meeting Santa.

For more information on sensory-friendly seasonal options, click here.

The holidays can pose many challenges, but using some of these tips along with patience and flexibility, may help make the season more enjoyable for everyone.