The decorations, smells, outings, family gatherings leading up to Christmas are very overwhelming and have often led to melt downs. The week of Christmas is insanity and there is not really a way to get out of a lot of it. The 23rd is always her Christmas with her dad (we separated before her first Christmas) & a big change this year is that she will be doing an overnight 23-24th, 24th is the family Christmas dinner and all the Santa shenanigans, Christmas day is a whirl wind and then the 26th is her birthday. It's A TON packed into days. We are changing things this year to accommodate Emma and her struggles. Less 'get togethers' and group things etc.
Last year when I felt she had gotten to an age she could understand more, we started talking things through to prepare her for certain events. It did seem to help some of the anxiety.
I decided to take the Christmas a little further and create a social story. After pricing them (OUCH!) I decided to do my own and tailor it to our families traditions. It worked really well... it did not take away all of her anxiety but she was at least prepared for what was to come.
These pictures are from last years... I have tweaked a few things for this year, but it is still similar.
**I picked a few of the pages to give a general idea**