Support at Christmas – National Autistic Society

Christmas is a magical time for many people, filled with food, celebrations, gifts and festive cheer. But for some autistic people, Christmas can be stressful and overwhelming.

With this in mind, below is a collection of tips, stories and ideas to support autistic people over the holiday!


  • Think about and plan around sensory issues that could cause distress or discomfort.
  • Create/find a quiet space where the individual you support can take a break if they get overwhelmed, preferably in a Christmas-free area, and particularly around the main days of Christmas or at key times where there may be stress.
  • Plan in Christmas shopping, think about visiting shops at quieter times, or shopping online.
  • If it is helpful, use visual aids such as calendars, lists and schedules to help plan Christmas.


  • Keep daily schedules the same as possible, including Christmas Day.
  • Plan in any additional visits from family or friends in advance.
  • Gradually introduce Christmas activities into daily schedules, e.g. Christmas shopping, putting up decorations or switching on the tree lights.


  • Plan the most suitable decorations for the people you support and your home, including where best to have them and how many, if any.
  • Consider decorating gradually.