We are at the end of our first week of My Kind of Christmas and according to research, this is the weekend when most Brits will make the time to decorate their homes with Christmas ornaments, tinsel, lights and trees.

So today we are focusing on all things DECORATIONS.

Our Family Development Manager Kerrie Highcock shared with us some of her findings chatting to families, young people and even toddlers:

“I think the thing to sum up Christmas when autism is part of your family, is that no two families’ homes will look the same; no two people will have the same traditions and no two Christmas trees will be the same,” she said.

“In one household a mum told me they have two trees – one for her autistic son that’s exactly as he wants it, and one for her that’s more relaxed and eclectic. When I’ve been visiting homes and chatting with our families what’s become clear is that decorations can become a source of anxiety. The clutter, the ‘noise’ coming from coloured materials or even just loads of Christmas cards all over the place can be one more thing adding to someone’s stress.

“It’s true that a lot of the people we have spoken to in the campaign so far have expressed how much they love certain elements of Christmas but as Anne Hegarty mentioned yesterday, that’s not true for everyone. The great news is that there’s no law against not having decorations – or even celebrating – and there are plenty of less fussy, less shiny, less sparkly options.

“Of course, you may love all that like I do. But just in case, we’ve come up with some ideas.”


Today we have partnered with Amii O’Connell from This Mother Makes. She’s a wife and mum but also a teaching assistant in a school for children with additional needs and in the video (above) she shows us how to make paper chains. If you struggle with planning and sequencing this is perfect for you as she shows exactly what you need and offers a step-by-step guide. We’ve also chosen to use brown paper to keep it muted for those who prefer not to have additional sensory stimuli.


Here are some other ideas…

 1 – Gift wrap: sound, colour and how something feels to the touch all play a part in sensory experiences so choosing the correct gift wrap is key. As well as paper you could consider wrapping in fabric instead. It’s softer, more eco-friendly and can be re-wrapped easily if the person who will get the gift loves to unwrap their presents ads much as the gift itself.


2- Baubles and ornaments: thanks to the groundswell of crafting and crafters it’s now easier than ever to get a hold of cardboard or wooden ‘make your own’ type tree decorations. This has two advantages – you can literally design your own décor right down to how much glitter (if any). Or… you can keep them as they are. The muted brown tones are subtle and homely, without jarring with senses.


3 – Front door décor: wreaths, big bows, lights on outdoor trees and windows… all part and parcel, right? Well, what if recognising people and places is a challenge if everything isn’t as it was the last time you saw it? If you have people visiting who are neurodivergent consider more subtle entranceways. This applies to rooms that no longer look normal at all. Consider more delicate touches to bring in the spirit of Christmas without obscuring normality altogether.

Hope you’re enjoying our interactive active advent calendar. Please do visit our Just Giving Page to help support our lifeline work in the region. Have a look at our Christmas Tree gallery too… and why not send us your pics as well.