Christmas is almost here and there’s no point in re-inventing the wheel, the PWS Association in New Zealand shared the below tips and they’re really useful.

The only thing I’ll add is from a personal point of view. This will be our tenth Christmas with our son with PWS. Christmas has evolved to suit him and us. We’ve made a few tweaks and changes over the years but it’s a time of year we all really enjoy, especially our son with PWS. So if you’re a new parent with a child with PWS, don’t feel you have to change everything at once.. breathe, enjoy Christmas and the changes will happen if and as needed by you and your family.

Thank you PWSA NZ for the below tips:

The build up to Christmas, the increased number of social events, and the holiday celebrations themselves can all cause additional anxiety for individuals with PWS and their families.
Some tips to reduce stress on Christmas Day are:

🎄 Plan ahead – Christmas Day can be quite chaotic and this raises anxiety. Plan a schedule for the day which is an order of events rather than specific times. Involve individuals with PWS in the planning of the schedule. Review the schedule with them beforehand.

🎅 Agree a food plan for the day and involve individuals with PWS in this. It may be that they can have some of everything offered to all, but agree how much of each thing. Or if using some different foods, agree what will be swapped for a substitute.

🎁 Aim for food-free activities during the day and only have food available at eating times. Boxes of chocolates or bowls of nuts left out will raise anxiety.

☃️ Avoid gathering to talk around food tables or in the kitchen.

🎄 Plan how food security will work. If there are lots of people, it is easy to be distracted or to think that someone else is keeping an eye on things – plan who will be monitoring and who will be responsible for ensuring food is put securely away.

🎅 Stockings – these don’t need to contain lollies / sweets. Alternatives could be small toys or games, stickers, little puzzle books, sugarless gum etc.

🎁 On Christmas Eve, consider replacing the usual food left out for Santa with a letter or thank you card. This will make for a much calmer evening!

☃️ If you are hosting a Christmas event and inviting someone with PWS and their family, ask about their dietary requirements beforehand and support the dietary plans they have in place. Avoid serving a buffet if possible, because this can cause issues, and always check with parents before providing food.

Have a safe, healthy and happy Christmas!