Christmas Survival Guide 2016

The Christmas Survival Guide 2016 is now available! Christmas Logo - Multicoloured with Strapline and Charity Number - Compressed

The guide contains useful tips and ideas for surviving the Christmas period by bringing together information sheets and articles from other organisations looking at strategies for making the Christmas period less stressful for all the family.  It also includes some links to help with gift ideas.

If you can suggest any tips that have worked for you, or useful information from other organisations, please let us know so we can add it next time.

We wish you a happy and healthy Christmas break.


Useful Information and Articles

Christmas - No Surprises Please! -

An information sheet written by Geoff Evans, looking at a number of practical strategies for making Christmas a more enjoyable and less stressful time for all involved.

The 12 Anxieties of Christmas -

Mark Brown from Special Help for Special Needs, looks at what can be done to reduce some of the difficulties Christmas creates for children with special needs, including contributions from many parents.

Coping with Christmas - 

Christmas can be an exciting and fun time, but it can also be stressful. People with autism may be confused or distressed by all the new activity in the household at Christmas, and this can be upsetting for the rest of the family. This section from The National Autistic Society provides tips and guidance to see you through the festive period.

Tips to Help you Deal with your Child's Christmas Stress - 

Contact A Family's tips for parents on reducing your child's Christmas stress.

Festive Stress-Busting Tips to Help you this Christmas - 

Contact A Family's stress-busting tips for parents on reducing your child's Christmas stress.

Learning Disabilities - Top Tips for Christmas - 

The festive season can be an extremely stressful time for children with autism. Emma Sterland from Netbuddy has put together some advice for families.

The 12 'Dos' of Christmas for Special Needs Parents -

Article from Special Needs Jungle. 

Tips for Expanding Language at Christmas - 

Article from Special Needs Jungle.

Ambitious About Autism -

A list of tips for surviving Christmas.

Network Autism: Preparing for Christmas -

A collection of articles from the network for professionals from the National Autistic Society.

Makaton Christmas Resource - Christmas Symbols and Signs

Makaton Christmas Resource - The First Christmas Story

Signed Stories -

A website and App offering hundreds of children's stories accessible in BSL, animation, pictures, text and sound. Search 'Christmas' for seasonal stories.

Special Needs Advice on Coping with Christmas -

Advice from Childalert, first for child safety.

Surviving the Holidays, Dealing with Relatives -

Advice from One Place for Special Needs.

20 Fun, Educational, Special Needs Christmas Apps for Autism - 

Ideas from A Day in Our Shoes.

Scope's Christmas Present Tips -

Tips from parents of children with special needs.

Christmas Social Story - 

Sometimes children struggle with politely receiving Christmas presents. Here is a sample social story that may help to prepare your child for this.


Christmas Activities Holly

The following organisations will be running holiday club sessions and events throughout Essex during the school Christmas holidays. There may be some late availability, but otherwise worth keeping in mind for next year.  

InterAct -

will be running some activities during the Christmas break.  Click here for the programme‚Ķ


is running some Christmas holiday sessions this year.  Contact BOSP for details -

Grangewaters - 

This Thurrock outdoor activity centre is offering some activities during the Christmas break.


Festive Fun Events -

Christmas events list from Essex Mums website.

Accessible Christmas -

My Family, Our Needs has brought together some ideas of where to go and what to buy for the Christmas season.

Relaxed Pantomime Performances


Brentwood Theatre - Through the Looking Glass

Thameside Theatre, Thurrock - Peter Pan

Cliffs Pavilion, Southend - Robinson Crusoe & the Caribbean Pirates

Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch - Cinderella

Mercury Theatre, Colchester - Dick Whittington 

National Theatre, London - Peter Pan

Access London Theatre -

Relaxed performance listings at theatres across London.


Christmas Gift IdeasOpen Christmas Present

Christmas Specials from Sensory Toy Warehouse - click here...

A Sensory Christmas from Rompa - click here...

Christmas Gift Ideas from Sense Toys - click here...

Christmas Sensory Toy Ideas from Sensory Education - click here...

Switch Adapted Toy Ideas - click here...

SNAP's Guide to Choosing Toys for Children with Disabilities - click here...

Fledglings Christmas Gift Catalogue - click here...

Special Needs Christmas Gift Guide from 'Have Wheelchair Will Travel' - click here...

ToyLikeMe is a collection of toy products which represent diff:ability - click here...

Makaton Christmas Resources to Purchase - click here...


Christmas Helpline Support



The SNAP Centre will close on Friday 16th December and will reopen on Tuesday 3rd January 2017. If you need to speak to someone while our helpline is closed, these national helplines may be useful.

Contact a Family

The Contact a Family national helpline is open until 23rd December on 0808 808 3555.

Family Lives

The Family Lives national helpline will be open over the Christmas period on 0808 800 2222.