Christmas tips for disabled people

Plan your meals

Always plan meals: even things like vegetables can be pre-blanched and frozen. Soup can be preserved in zip-bags. It’s good to have one or two veggie dishes pads out the freezer and the fridge, and it makes your money go further. Also shop what you need: items like bread can be frozen in slices of two. Tin foil can be better than plastic wrap, and used for meat and fish: simply defrost in the tin foil in fridge. Have stores of your favourite pulses and dried pasta, as this can help with padding out a meal. Also remember items like cheese can be grated and then popped in to zip bags and frozen.

Make a leftovers loaf

Use a bread loaf tin and layer up leftover veg and meat with layers of cheese. Then bake in the oven, turn it out and slice for a really lovely meal, snack or addition to the buffet table!

Touch screen gloves

If you have poor circulation and really feel the cold, you might also know the struggle of having to frequently wear gloves but have to take them off every time you want to use a touch screen. However, you can now get special touch screen gloves which you don’t have to remove to use your devices!


A festive jigsaw can be a lovely relaxed way to get the family to spend a bit of time together every now and then, working on something as a joint project.

If you’re on a limited budget

You can go to your local library to borrow or rent DVDs, or buy them cheaply from budget/discount stores.

Get some Pinterest inspiration

Pinterest is great for getting new and different ideas for Christmas decorations, food, baking and games. You can find lots of cheap and easy instructions for crafting, too.

Go and help out a charity

Some places put on a brilliant Christmas day for anyone who would be alone otherwise, where you can go and help peel veg, wrap presents and decorate the church hall.

Calming environment

The noise, excitement and confusion of Christmas can be overwhelming for some with neuro diverse conditions. Make sure that you have a ‘safe space’ where you can go and not be disturbed when it all gets too much. Find your favourite items that you turn to for comfort. Put them in a safe place to turn to if you feel overwhelmed.

Shop online

“As an autistic adult, I have to say that the idea of fighting the crowds to do my Christmas shopping is really unnerving. I manage by doing the bulk of it online and any shopping I absolutely have to do in person is done on weekdays in the early morning so it’s not too busy. I write a list of exactly what I need from where, and work out a route. Planning is the key!” – Community memberWhen shopping online, check that deliveries will be brought in for you if you are unable to do so yourself.

Pick your times wisely

If you prefer to be able to physically hold and examine prospective presents before buying, shopping at off-peak times, such as during the day in the middle of the week, can enable you to get your Christmas shopping done with much less stress and difficulty.

Spread the Christmas cheer

You can raise money for your favourite charity while doing your Christmas shopping online via ‘Give as you live’. The platform allows you to support any UK charity, and when you shop at over 4,100 stores a donation will be made to the charity of your choice at no extra cost to you.

Know your stores

“One tip I have for anyone who shops in Primark or Matalan, is that all their stores have a dedicated Disabled Cash Desk, meaning not only do you not have to queue up with everyone else around that horribly tight space, but the desk is lowered as well.” – Community member

Call ahead to discuss your needs

If you have any specific needs when visiting a shop, don’t be afraid to call the store and check if they are able to do anything to make your visit easier and more comfortable. Many shop managers will be happy to do what it takes to make reasonable adjustments that will help you.

Days out
Go to the cinema

Some cinemas offer autism-friendly cinema screenings, including those at Cineworld, Showcase and Odeon cinemas, over on the Dimensions website.

Visit accessible attractions

There are some great accessible attractions around the country. See Disability Horizons ‘Top 5 accessible attractions to visit this Christmas’.

Have a night out at the theatre

Theatres don’t always have the best accessibility for disabled visitors, but you can find a helpful guide to the accessible features of many of London’s West End theatres on the Cheap Theatre Tickets website. Many theatres offer discounted tickets for disabled theatregoers, so do call the relevant booking office to check before buying a ticket.

Get ready for the Christmas party

If you’re heading out for a work Christmas party and have a wheelchair or other access issues, speak to whoever is organising the party to ensure that the venue will be wheelchair accessible or that necessary adjustments will be made.

Plan an accessible festive adventure

Take a look at the Rough Guide to Accessible Britain website for lots of ideas for accessible days out and tips for getting to them.

Check your medications

“Remember to make sure you have enough meds for over the Christmas period. Christmas Day 2017 is a Monday and the Tuesday is also a bank holiday and so that is an extended period. So get those repeats in if necessary!” – Community member

Find nearby accessible toilets

Whether you’re Christmas shopping or enjoying a day out, it may be important to you to know where the nearest accessible toilet is. Fortunately someone has developed a handy website which will tell you where the nearest one to you is. Visit the Great British Public Toilet Map website and select the ‘My toilet preferences’ button at the top of the screen to view all disabled public toilets in the immediate area.

Find an accessible Christmas dinner

If you’re looking for a place to have Christmas dinner or things to do over the festive period, take a look at Euan’s Guide, where you’ll find listings and disabled access reviews of venues such as restaurants, attractions and hotels across the UK.

Have your Christmas tree put up and decorated

If your impairment means that you are unable to put up or decorate a Christmas tree, you can pay someone to do it for you, and some will also take it away and tidy up after the festive period. Pines and Needles, The Christmas Decorators and Christmas Tree Rentals are a few such services.



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