Hi BTL Fam!
If you are like us, you’re probably wondering how we are only a few days away from Thanksgiving! This year has not only been one for the record books, it’s also been one of the fastest years yet! Maybe it has been the anticipation of the 2020 election, the strain of COVID-19, or even just the hustle and bustle of our new “normal”. Regardless, we’re now preparing for a holiday season that will be unlike any other.
As we prepare for the holiday’s, we know this year may look a bit different. Unfortunately, that also means explaining once again, why our yearly get togethers have been canceled, what COVID-19 is, and why the safety of us and everyone around us is a high priority right now. It’s hard enough for adults to understand, but explaining this to an individual with ASD can be even more difficult.
So this year as we prepare for this new outlook on the holiday’s, try some things that may be helpful for you and your families. We can plan for what we think will happen, but also plan for the unexpected! This year you may be planning to visit family, but only a few people at a time. It is best to talk about the changes that may be happening before it occurs. For example, discuss the need to wear masks around grandparents, aunts and uncles, and anyone else attending. Let them know that someone may be staying home due to the circumstances. Explore the idea of virtual conversations or the possibility of not getting to sit on Santa’s lap (because we have to keep him and the elves very safe!!).
The American Psychological Association shared a book called “A Kid’s Guide to Coronavirus” which may be beneficial to read before the holidays. It discusses and illustrates the changes around us and further explains why we must be very cautious with COVID-19. It may be helpful to start reading this now and keep it on hand to help explain what is happening this year.
Here’s the link: https://www.apa.org/pubs/magination/covid-19-help-kids-cope
While considering that this year is unlike any other, we also shouldn’t allow these hard times to alter our spirits. Instead, this year, let’s challenge ourselves to make the most out of this difficult holiday season! There are so many opportunities to create new traditions and get creative during our stay at home celebrations. Try some of these ideas:
- Go on a scavenger hunt! Find one online or make your own and challenge family and friends to find holiday items around their homes or in a well ventilated outdoor space and snap a picture. Those with the most pictures, win!
- Have a baking day and then drop off all the yummy goodies at family and friend’s houses! Better yet, have a friendly baking competition and see who can decorate the best cookie.
- Christmas Movies? YES PLEASE! you can never go wrong with a good old fashion movie night with some pj’s and hot cocoa.
- Ride around and look at Christmas lights and listen to Christmas music. This was always my favorite holiday tradition! We would drive around and see all of the neighbor’s Christmas lights while most of the time being in our favorite holiday pajamas!
- Mail out letters to loved ones and be sure to send one to SANTA!
- Coordinate with friends to have a “Secret Santa”. You can mail your gifts or sneak over and drop them on the doorstep while no one is watching!
- Drive-by Thanksgiving. If your grandparents are anything like mine, preparing the dinner is one of their favorite things about Thanksgiving. This year, we can still share the yummy meal and consider having a drive-by event if getting together in-person isn’t the best option for your family!
- Thanksgiving crafts. Who doesn’t love tracing a turkey out of their fingers! Grab some pencils, paper, paint, feathers and any other craft supplies you have and get to decorating those turkeys!!
- Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade virtually: This may be my ABSOLUTE favorite part of Thanksgiving! Growing up, we never missed watching the parade first thing in the morning. This tradition gets to continue this year as the parade will be broadcasted in a virtual format!
- Christmas Crafts: Check out our Pinterest page for some more ideas. There are so many creative ideas out there. Consider adding a mask on your Santa crafts this year to help your loved one’s see that even Santa is staying safe too. Just follow this link for some craft ideas: https://pin.it/38IXpiJ
Wrapping up 2020 doesn’t have to be any less fun than every other year. But yet, we get to spend time with our closest family, enjoy the small moments, and celebrate the holiday in a new way. Consider taking the time this year to not worry about the gifts and presents under the tree but yet the moments we share with our loved ones and the unique traditions in the making. Remember, the things you always gain from the holidays are the memories!!!
If you or a loved one are needing more resources or have questions regarding the holiday season, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or send an inquiry on our website! We are more than happy to help with any struggles you are facing this year.
Happy Holidays from your friends at Beyond The Label Autism Services!