Home » When Special Needs Meets Christmas (& Santa)
This time of year, from Thanksgiving, through Christmas, and around the start of the New Year — isn’t easy for a lot of people for many different reasons. When you have a child with special needs, though, there are specific challenges that crop up, ones that others don’t always understand.
You have to teach your kid things others come to the tree or holiday gathering with – like how to unwrap a present for the third year in a row (we made it a therapy goal finally … we can learn!).
Family gatherings can be torture, especially if your family isn’t as supportive. We’ve had it both ways – with family that was phenomenal at helping with the boys, and again with family that gave dirty looks and sighed dramatically at every movement my children made. Guess which experience we actually wanted to repeat?
If you have to chase kids, respond to crises, be prepared for a seizure, feed them by hand, chase the kids some more, and take one to the potty while you change another … you run out of hands pretty fast. The older a kid gets, the easier it is to not see these things when a family is out with family or in a public place.
Instead you might see the antsy child, the parent who “worries too much,” or the kid you are sure could just use a bit of discipline (we’re not even going to go there or this will become a rant!).
The fact is, when you have children with special needs, you greet the holidays with excitement and trepidation.
If you are only focused on the hard things, you lose out on the joys of the holidays (whether you celebrate Christmas like we do, or Hanukkah, or something else). I remember some of those early moments that made Christmas magical for me when the boys were younger:
My guys don’t sit on Santa’s lap (one year … at a school function … never again!) but they have a joy about Christmas and the holidays that is charming and innocent in a way.
Christmas, to me, to our family, is more about the smiles and traditions that we are building one tiny victory at a time. This year, a full-sized Christmas tree and actual lights … next year, the world!
What are the traditions in your house during Christmas and the rest of the holiday season?
Do you find Christmas a difficult time of year?
What techniques have you learned to handle Christmas if you have children with special needs?