The holidays are in full swing around here. It’s been a busy season, but a lot of fun. As I write this, I’m enjoying the sounds of Christmas music playing in the background and my children chattering as they make cookies without supervision. Throughout the season as I’ve been working on some of our family Christmas preparations, I’ve realized some of the things we do alternatively because of our blindness and I thought I’d share some of our strategies for tackling a few common challenges with Christmas tasks.
I personally love wrapping gifts, but my husband does not. He never learned how, and while this is a pretty hands on task, I think a lot of blind people are not taught to wrap presents. (I admit I’m making this really broad assumption from blind people I’ve worked with over the years.) If you’re in this camp, here are a few tips:
- Ask a trusted friend or family member to teach you. It’s a fun skill!
- Use gift wrapping services at the store.
- Check the “gift wrapping” option on Amazon.
- Pay a neighbor—the teens from our church were offering gift wrapping services as a service project, and a lot of youth need service hours for school, or are just looking for ways to earn money.
Also with gifts, since both my husband and I are blind, we have to find ways of identifying the gifts once they are wrapped since we can’t read print gift tags on them and we don’t have Santa make braille ones for us, even though we read braille. I suppose we could request this of him, and express to our children how great it is that Santa accommodates for us, but we just haven’t done that. It would be really easy to braille on an index card the name to whom the gift belongs and tape it to the package. Instead, we group the gifts together as we wrap them by child and then I write one big sign or print out a sign with the child’s name on it and place it near their pile. (WE don’t place gifts under the tree prior to Christmas as we have young children and the gifts wouldn’t last.) Using different textured wrapping paper for different children is also helpful, or using different colored paper. (if you can distinguish between the prints). On Christmas morning, we open our gifts one at a time as a family, and I or my husband passes out the gifts we want to be opened for each round, taking one from each child’s pile. Since we’ve wrapped it, we usually can tell what the gift is once we pick it up by the size or shape of the package.
Holiday Photo Ops:
From visits with Santa, participating in fun winter activities, or taking pictures of friends and family at gatherings, holiday photo ops are abundant. Sometimes as blind people, we don’t often think of taking photos because we can’t see them, but I highly encourage you to still take photos. It’s a great way to document your life and your family’s experiences. While you may not find much use for them, your children will enjoy them and appreciate them, especially when they are older. The iPhone camera gives pretty good feedback to aid you in making sure your pictures are aligned properly if you want to take them yourself. Even if you feel a little self-conscious, something is better than nothing. Remember the adage, “Done is better than perfect.” But the best thing to do is to hand your camera over to a friend, relative, or passer-by to capture those special moments. Alternatively, you could try using a video calling service with family members during times like gift opening or special holiday programs and have them take pictures and send them to you, labeled as to what it is of course. Even an older child can take pretty good pics or videos with a little practice and instruction, so try this out as well during your family time. As our children have gotten a little older I’ve let them take photos and videos for us. (Be sure to remind them when videoing to watch the person/event through the screen or else you end up with a great view of the ground during your son’s first t-ball game.) My seven-year-old does a pretty good job at both now. I recently let her video my son’s preschool pageant and she did a great job capturing him singing. Your kids will thank you one day.
Well there you have it—a little glimpse into our home during the holidays. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. WE feel so blessed and have enjoyed a great year. I hope this season finds you and yours well and that the peace of the Savior may fill your hearts and homes. Happy new year too!