“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” is something we hear often around the holidays — and for good reason. For many of us, the holidays are a magical time filled with family, food, fun decorations, and gifts. However, for those on the autism spectrum, it can be a confusing time filled with loud noises, bright lights, and strange daily schedules.

If someone you love experiences sensory overload, consider these tips for a sensory-friendly Christmas party:

Keep decorations minimal.

It’s not Christmas without twinkling lights and tabletop villages, but you may want to cut back on more elaborate decorations, like blinking lights, life-size replicas, and animatronics that make noise.

Avoid big surprises.

A surprise visit from Santa can be intimidating for people on the autism spectrum. If Santa will be making an appearance, let your loved one know beforehand.

Have a crowd-free room available.

Large crowds can make people on the autism spectrum and those with anxiety nervous. If you’re expecting crowds in the double digits, offer to let people spend time in a spare bedroom or office area if they’d like.

Ask if there’s anything you forgot.

Not sure if you’re sensory-friendly party ready? Just ask! If you know someone on the autism spectrum, reach out to them and ask if there’s anything they’d like to see (or not see) at the party. You can also ask if they’d like to come over earlier, to get acclimated to the house or beat the crowds.

Debra Solomon, founder of Spectrum Strategies has many services waiting for you. From time management and productivity workshops to individual coaching, she is an expert in her field. Debra is focused on training young adults on the Autism Spectrum to accomplish life and career goals, no matter how big or small. Call (516) 510-7637 for your one on one.