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Christmas Shopping on a Tight Budget

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The best memories that children remember are not about the gifts received, but how they spent time with family.  If your child is on the Autism spectrum or has sensory difficulties, the holiday experiences may be a bit different. Loud music, bright lights, and clothing with scratchy tags are all factors that can put a damper on Christmas morning. Not to mention, the rising costs of gifts are becoming nearly impossible for families to afford.

With the cost of raising a family, not budgeting for the holidays may affect household finances all year long. So, how do you manage Christmas Shopping on a Tight Budget for autistic child?

Christmas Shopping on a Tight Budget 

Plan ahead

As most households are limited to a restricted budget, everything from the family budget to Christmas gifts needs to be planned in advance. During the holidays, stores are competing for business. This means more sales and more crowds. The sooner you know what to give everyone, the sooner you can start shopping in advance.

When thinking about the amount you should budget for the holidays gift-giving, consider the expected gifts. Take advantage of sales and coupons. Most stores will “price match” their items, so use that to your benefit. Thrifty families can save a large amount of money buying gifts during major sales, including Black Friday sales. But remember, when buying ahead, be sure that your gift will still be relevant to the child’s interests.

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Make gifts practical

The joy of gift giving doesn’t have to be overwhelming for children with autism. In fact, consider staggering the opening of the presents. Some children may not enjoy the element of surprises.

You can take a photo of the present and show them first, leave them unwrapped, or even allow them to choose their gifts themselves. Not to mention, Christmas gifts shouldn’t have to be the latest “trendy” toys, but rather things that they would enjoy and reuse all year long.

What’s more, Christmas wrapping paper often gets so destroyed that it makes recycling impractical. Instead, use and re-use the paper, bows, ribbons, and gift bags or simply leave the gift unwrapped for your child.

Create magic, not clutter

Flashing lights, loud sounds, and busy crowds: the Christmas season can be a difficult time for children with autism. In fact, 64% of individuals with autism avoid visiting the shops during the festive holiday, based on a recent NAS survey. So, what can parents do to make Christmas magic for their children? Create it, not buy it.

Useful Gifts

Children enjoy stockings full of useful things rather than one large item. You can include their favorite foods, a toy to help them calm down when anxious, and even a new weighted lap pad when they feel uncomfortable.

Creating a special box should be about the child’s interests – whether it be sensory toys or painting. What’s more, make Christmas less about traditional expectations and more about what makes them happy.

Christmas Shopping on a Tight Budget

Every child has their own unique tastes and interests. Therefore, it’s okay to let your family holiday reflect this notion.  Christmas shopping on a tight budget is more than doable! Always remember to emphasize on the holiday spirit, even if that means playing with bubble wrap, boxes, or eating a plain cheese pizza on Christmas Eve.

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