As the holiday season approaches, the world is adorned with festive decorations, cheerful tunes, and the aroma of holiday meals. While this time of year brings joy to many, it can also present challenges for some neurodivergent individuals. At Rare Birds, we believe that every member of the neurodivergent community deserves to experience the festive season with comfort, calm, and confidence. In this blog post, we offer practical advice that goes beyond clothing, providing tips to help navigate the upcoming Christmas season.

1. Create a Predictable Schedule:
Some neurodivergent individuals often find comfort in routine. With the holiday season often disrupting the regular schedule, try to maintain a sense of predictability. Create a visual or written schedule for the festive period, incorporating familiar activities and routines. This can help reduce anxiety and provide a sense of stability.

2. Designate Quiet Spaces:
Festive gatherings can be overwhelming due to increased sensory stimuli. Designate quiet spaces where neurodivergent individuals can retreat when needed. These spaces offer a reprieve from the hustle and bustle, allowing for relaxation and self-regulation.

3. Communicate Expectations:
Open communication is key. Clearly communicate any changes or expectations for the holiday season. This can include discussing plans in advance, explaining potential sensory triggers, and establishing boundaries. Being open and honest fosters understanding and support from family and friends.

4. Introduce New Experiences Gradually:
The festive season often brings new experiences, from holiday parties to gift exchanges. Introduce these experiences gradually, allowing neurodivergent individuals to acclimate to the changes. Provide information about upcoming events and involve them in the decision-making process.

5. Offer Sensory-Friendly Decorations:
Consider the sensory aspects of holiday decorations. Opt for softer lighting, incorporate calming scents, and choose decorations with varying textures. Creating a sensory-friendly environment can contribute to a more comfortable and enjoyable festive experience.

6. Provide Clear Visual Cues:
Visual cues can be beneficial for some neurodivergent individuals. Use visual schedules, cues, or social stories to explain holiday traditions, events, and expectations. This visual support aids in comprehension and reduces anxiety.

7. Respect Dietary Preferences and Sensitivities:
The holiday season often revolves around food, and some neurodivergent individuals may have specific dietary preferences or sensitivities. Respect these by offering alternative options and communicating with hosts or guests about any dietary restrictions.

8. Incorporate Calming Activities:
Integrate calming activities into the festive schedule. Whether it's a quiet reading corner, a favorite movie, or using stress relieving aids such as weighted blankets or weighted eye masks  for relaxation and self-soothing can make the holiday season more enjoyable.

9. Embrace Virtual Celebrations:
Recognise that in-person gatherings may not be suitable for everyone. Embrace virtual celebrations as an alternative, allowing neurodivergent individuals to participate in a way that feels comfortable for them.

10. Encourage Self-Care:
Lastly, emphasize the importance of self-care. The holiday season can be demanding, so encourage neurodivergent individuals to engage in activities that bring them joy and relaxation. This could include a favorite hobby, listening to music, or spending quiet time alone.

By incorporating these tips, we hope to make the festive season a more inclusive and enjoyable experience for the entire neurodivergent community. At Rare Birds, we stand by our commitment to providing calm, comfort, style, and confidence, not just through clothing but in every aspect of life. Wishing you and your loved ones a warm and joyful holiday season!