Surviving the Holidays: A Gift-Giving Guide for Exceptional Kids

The holiday season is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, packed tight with traveling, traditions, and what most kids would say is the best part, gifts. Some kids look dutifully through store catalogues, watch every television commercial carefully, or chatter with their friends about what the hottest new toy will be. It’s not difficult to identify what’s on their wish lists, but what if your child isn’t too fond of gifts? How can you make the holidays magical if they aren’t interested in what their peers love about the holidays? Here’s some gift suggestions to help the holidays be a magical experience for your kids.
Does your child have a special interest, a topic or item they enjoy much more than their peers and seem to know all about? Use that as a starting point and find a way to incorporate whatever their current interest is into their presents. Even if it’s not a “traditional” gift item, indulge in their love for balloons, exit signs, or beetles and give them something they’re fascinated by.
Not a fan of material items? Give your child the gift of an experience instead! A zoo, aquarium, or museum membership is the perfect way to enjoy a day out to your child’s favorite place, and will save you on costs in the long run. These outings won’t just be entertaining, they could foster a special bond between you and your child and give you another way to connect.
The winter holidays are well known for their extravagant and special meals, but what if your child has food preferences or sensitivities? Even if their favorites don’t fit in with the traditional holiday menu, let them enjoy their preferred foods without judgement or the expectation to join the rest of the family in eating Aunt D’s special casserole. A spread with their tried-and-true favorites like chicken nuggets, Cheez-its, pretzel bites, and mini Oreos can make mealtimes easier to handle and will go a long way towards helping them feel like part of the group.
For some kids, the best gift they could receive is your time. If you’re a parent to multiple children, balance a demanding work schedule with the demands of home life, or often find yourself carting kids off to extracurriculars or various therapies, maybe a dedicated chunk of your time is just what your child needs most? Have a movie night, do some arts and crafts, take a walk through the park, or just sit in your backyard and watch the sun set. Quality time with the people we love is something everyone needs, and especially so in the middle of the holidays.
The holidays are meant to be a joyous occasion for all, regardless of a person’s quirks, habits, or differences. If all else fails, ask your child directly what they’d enjoy receiving the most! If they’re able to communicate their wants, they might just come up with an idea or activity you haven’t considered yet. Embracing your child’s unique ways of experiencing the world around them will make this time of year even more special and enjoyable for everyone involved.
Happy holidays!

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