Christmas is definitely my favourite time of year and most of my friends know that I get very ‘obsessive’ about it from October onwards (although we don’t decorate the house in my family until Christmas Eve). I really like getting involved with the build up to Christmas- carol singing, going to the theatre, pantomime, decorating, baking for Christmas etc.
In my house though we do keep Christmas quite small and as my Mum says ‘homemade’. So it isn’t too commercialised which I think probably helps keep it stress free. I’ve also been put in charge of overall planning of Christmas since I was old enough to which helps a lot!
To keep Christmas stress free we have exactly the same routine each year so I know what is happening. Also we start to plan it in detail (the whole week of Christmas) about now- pretty much to an hour by hour schedule which includes what we’ll eat, what will happen, where we will go etc. Normally in the afternoon as well there is a couple of hours to not be sociable and recharge which helps a lot- I normally go for a walk with my dogs.
We also don’t have anybody except people who are normally in the house round for Christmas so it is not too social. Any social events tend to happen before of after Christmas itself so it doesn’t make the day stressful. I think the most difficult thing for me is Christmas shopping and an increase in bright lights, people, and noise when I am out and about, so I’m more likely to struggle with sensory overload.
I’m still trying to work out the best ways to manage this but have found trying to avoid towns around Christmas, get shopping early (or online), or using the internet to look up the quietest times of shops and be aware I may need more time to recharge when I get home then normal. I also always make sure I have headphones with me incase it all gets too much!