Tuesday 21 November 2017

Making Christmas shopping easier for our family

Shopping with autism

Christmas shopping when you have a family that's 2/5th autistic can be... more challenging.  My two boys are anxious around new people and places.  The stores are full of bright lights and loud announcements mixed with Christmas music that makes them feel full of noise and overloaded by sound.

True, our difficulties aren't the same as everyone, but I remember pushing a buggy with a crying baby around the department store and thinking to myself "This Christmas shopping doesn't seem very fun." It's all to easy for it to feel like another chore.   But, I still want to do the Christmas shopping. I want to see the gorgeous smile on my kids faces at Christmas.  I want them too experience what they can and want to.

So like many others I figure out what works for us:

1.  We shop online - a lot.  All most exclusively in fact.  Everything from the crackers to the selection packs.  I've been doing my weekly shop online for as long as I can remember.  I'll get deliveries or click and collect - anything that means I don't have to go into the supermarket.  There is the odd time when I buy six packs of six bananas instead of just six, but all in all, it's been worth it.

Buying online gets rid of the stressful environment and once you are use to it, browsing online is no different and in some ways better than browsing through a store.  The other thing I look out for is a 'last chance' delivery date, when I need to have ordered by. Nothing worse than Christmas presents arriving on the 27th.

Shopping online

2. I try and have a good idea of what I'm shopping for.  I not only buy online, I research there too. This way I can target my purchases;  I don't just want a sensory toy, I want a fidget spinner or a disco light that's specifically for our light fittings. Being specific means I can make decisions faster and it means there's less chance of disappointment.

Kids with autism can sometimes find presents more enjoyable when they know what they are getting. I once knew someone who wrapped her kids presents in cellophane - be in no doubt they were just an excited.  So if I've got something specific to get it works for all of us.  Even so, sometimes I get it wrong.  It's good that many shops have extended the returns period over Christmas, I try and check when I buy what the returns process is so I'm not stuck with unwanted gifts.

3. If I want to window shop,  I shop when it's quieter.  Some stores do an autism friendly shopping hour which can be really helpful if you can find one.  Otherwise, mid-morning, mid week is OK in some places.  I dare not venture into a shop at the weekend unless I have to - and then I try and go early.

If the kids are coming, I'll prepare them with what's going to happen and how long we are going to be.  Then importantly, I'll stick to that deadline even if it means walking out empty handed.

Mum in store

4. I try to take advantage of online sales.  One of the things I used to spend too much time doing was looking for the best bargain.  I've decided what I want and then spend hours looking everywhere for it online.  It's stressful and time consuming at a time of the year when I'm already trying to fit in attending a Christmas concert and making a reindeer costume. Thankfully we have past the time of having to wait for Boxing Day for the sales.

So I have a look to see when my favourite retailers have their pre-festive sale. As I know what I'm looking for and how much it usually costs I can look for it during the sale. Some sites also run pre-sale offers too which can be helpful.

What makes shopping easier for your family for Christmas?

1 comment:

  1. You sound like a very caring and thoughtful mother. Shopping online sounds a great idea for all us mums. #coolmumclub


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