Christmas (whether you’re Christian or otherwise) is meant to be a joyous time for everyone. The spirit of giving is everywhere, the warm weather, relaxed holiday feelings for those lucky enough to have some time to take a break … the list goes on.
But, let’s consider for a moment what goes into a Christmas day or indeed holiday for people with a disability.
Speaking to many service providers, you’ll likely find a broad range of stories as to how Christmas plays out for those they care for. In some instances, seeing family is just not possible this year (thanks to COVID), and for others it’s difficult every year with constant care requirements taking their toll. In other instances though, people in our community are blessed with the ability to share their love and appreciation of family time with significant intensity.
For carers and support providers helping families be together and celebrate, it can be stressful, but incredibly rewarding. The common thread to making it happen is a well thought out plan – no, not an NDIS Plan, but rather a list, document, spreadsheet or digital diary of what to do and when.
Planning doesn’t mean being regimented and boring, but it can be THE tool that can make Christmas incredible for all involved.
Here’s some thoughts on creating a plan as a carer, parent, guardian or even individual to help make the festive season sing carols along with you …
1: Start counting down to Christmas day.
If you use an “Advent Calendar”, you’re one step ahead, but let’s treat the next week or two the same way. Mark each day with something special – however small, it might be the beginning of a tradition! Things like Creating a bunting sign adding a letter per day so that on Christmas day, a complete work of art spelling “Merry Christmas” can be seen hanging in the hallway. This may be the entire activity – spend a couple of hours painting or creating each letter for example.
The key is get creative – google can help too.
2: Remember it’s the season for giving.
We don’t mean donate money or spend up on presents, but think about hand making cards or gifts from found materials like pine-cones, leaves and flowers or just about anything. Maybe it’s “stick santa”, but whatever it is, keep the focus on the act of giving and there will always be a great sense of happiness.
3: Pre-arrange contact between family members, care givers or friends.
To avoid disappointment and a lonely Christmas lunch, planning times, food prep and location(s) for meeting with the people you care about is possibly the most important part of the Christmas puzzle. Without being organised, surprises and stress are almost guaranteed.
Get on the phone or start an email chain.
4: Look beyond Christmas day.
Consider what the rest of the year looks like, and indeed the beginning of the new one. Something that can help make those Christmas memories special and lasting is perhaps a Christmas scrapbook. Take photos of the break, Christmas day and the fun surrounding each moment. Create works of art to glue in, include Christmas cards, some tinsel or decoration. Celebrate the coming new year early if you like, but document it so that when the “downtime” starts in January you can look back at the scrap book with joy.
This is the kind of tradition that can live for years or even decades and be shared with love.
Now we could go on forever listing planning options, but the idea behind this article is to get the motor running. Start the gears turning. Hopefully we’ve done that for you, but if you are reading this as part of the disabled community, perhaps you can shed some light on your Christmas plan alongside what we’ve offered up below (send us an email or comment below).
REMINDER: If you’re venturing out over the holiday period, do it safely – remember any medications, special mobility needs, restrictions in place for your destination or any other considerations your specific needs might require.
NDSP Plan Managers are a NDIS registered provider specialising in NDIS Plan Management. If you are a NDIS Participant looking for the right Plan Manager, CLICK HERE to get in touch with our friendly team today.