Gifts and Giving: Four Moms Share How They Celebrate the Holidays
We stick together even in the hard times. Life with 3 kids is interesting enough, but when you add in a special boy that is medically fragile and very rare, it adds another level of stress, tears, love, and LOTS of teachable moments. It is awe inspiring to see how each one of is taught to be better people because of one boy that can’t walk or talk.
Tells us one gift your child wants? Our son is a doer. He loves to
interact with others and do things. A few his favorite things are hitting bumps in the road while riding in a vehicle, getting tickled, and being pushed in his chair on our gravel driveway by his younger brother. Even though he cannot tell us what he wants, we think he would love a cart that attaches to a bike like the ones found on this site…www.wicycle.com. We also think he would like an indoor play area like anything in these pictures, especially the ball pit, sandbox, swings, mirrors, and hammocks.
What gift has your child received (regardless of their age) that is still very popular in the house or is used today? Noels favorite toy, by far is the Baby Einstein music turtle. We have extras in the house so we have back up whenever this one dies.
What do you look for when you select gifts for your child? We look for anything that lights up or plays music. We look for things that he has to initiate the sound or light, not ones that just play on their own.
We try to find things that he can interact with and motivates him to do things he normally wouldn’t do on his own.
What is something that you and your family look forward to every holiday season (tradition or routine)? Before kids we would always go to the latest church service that we could and I was in the choir. The past few years, because the kids were/are so small we haven’t really had time to do any new traditions as just a family. We have always gone over to the extended families house to open gifts on Christmas morning and we look forward to that every year. As our kids get older we would like to start the tradition of going out to the woods and cutting down a tree as a family.
Elisha Von Haidenthaler
My boys (10 and 11) are the youngest of four siblings. They have an older borther and sister and were also made “Uncles” in February and have taken to this role! We try to spend time as a family doing things together especially since they lost their father in April. This has been incredibly challenging, but they get through it day by day!
Tells us one gift your child wants? My son. Leeloo, is a gaming wizard. He has written his list to Santa giving his reasons why he should be given an XBOX ONE! “I’ve been trying so hard in my new school!” he says. He does go to his older brother’s house to play his XBOX ONE. My other son, Belle, ha s not asked for anything specific and he is happy with anything he gets! He loves to watch DVD’s so I’m sure he would love a little TV with built in DVD player!
What gift has your child received (regardless of their age) that is still very popular in the house or is used today? Every year the boys get some Fimo on Christmas Eve and we sit and make animals and key rings as a family activity. It also helps with the fine motor skills. We then bake the Fimo, glaze it and give the items as presents to relatives! The boys are so delighted knowing people actually use the items and have them on display!
What do you look for when you select gifts for your child? The boys are very “sensory” so I have to make sure that they can touch it. They both get new, softer than soft, blankies for the tactile qualities! Leeloo over the years has had gaming equipment because he loves gaming! Belle loves bears that he can dress up and snuggle with at night!
What is something that you and your family look forward to every holiday season (tradition or routine)? We have for the past few years gone on the London Eye and gone ice skating a few days before Christmas. The boys love this because it’s usually dark but they love the twinkling lights and the fact that its cold and their “breath is smoking like a dragon!” We also celebrate their father’s death by letting off balloons on Primrose Hill near London Zoo! They have one balloon for each year their father lived and a Pirate balloon because he would always be a pirate for them on holiday! They write and draw pictures and they let them go! It is something we do so that the boys feel close to their father and we “Celebrate his Life!”.
I am a divorced mom of twins (one boy and one girl). My twins were born at 26.5 weeks and weighed 2lbs each. My son, Christopher, is non-verbal autistic and requires constant care. My daughter, Kristina, has high functioning autism and suffers from clinical depression. Despite our challenges, we live an active life by participating in many community based activities such as the Autism Walk, special needs community theatre, bowling etc.
Tells us one gift your child wants? Because my son is non-verbal, it is difficult to precisely say what gift he would like. He is happy with his iPad and he takes my android tablet because it has all the pictures of family on it. He loves looking at pictures and videos. So, for the holidays I usually have many gifts under the tree with things that he needs such as clothes, shoes, etc. I know it sounds boring, but it makes him happy participating and opening gifts regardless of what they are. However, he loves Disney (especially the princesses). I think he would really enjoy seeing a live performance or a collection of Disney videos. There is also a Flaghouse split donut that he goes to every time we go to OT. It calms him down and he is so receptive to learning while in it.
What gift has your child received (regardless of their age) that is still very popular in the house or is used today? The gift that he still loves is his iPad, it is not only a source of entertainment but he is being taught how to communicate with it. He has an iPad 2 and has used it for about 4 years.
What do you look for when you select gifts for your child? When I look for gifts for my son, I look for things that have light and sound (music). He loves things like that; something that he can operate without a large learning curve so he can enjoy it immediately.
What is something that you and your family look forward to every holiday season (tradition or routine)? We look forward to the family time. We all enjoy the food and decorations that come along with the season and the anticipation of what’s under the tree. Every year we always go out for a drive and look at the Christmas lights on the various houses around the city. Christopher especially enjoys this activity. We also look forward to the family visiting and seeing each other.
Our family is an overall typical American family: a mother and father who work, two kids and a dog. However, one of our children has a little extra something…an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. My daughter, Lizzie, has Down syndrome. She is the youngest of my two beautiful daughters. Although she can be challenging at times, Lizzie has taught me so much about life; things I, otherwise, never would have had the opportunity to learn. I wouldn’t change a thing about her. She certainly is a gift.
Tells us one gift your child wants? For Christmas, Lizzie asked for music CD’s, specifically Fifth Harmony. She loves her music.
What gift has your child received (regardless of their age) that is still very popular in the house or is used today? The one gift that Lizzie always goes back to is her Barbie Dolls. Her kinetic sand table comes in a close second.
What do you look for when you select gifts for your child? When choosing a gift for Lizzie, I try to pick something I know will keep her interest and enhance skills. However, I try to be careful not to get anything too advanced for her.
What is something that you and your family look forward to every holiday season (tradition or routine)? Gift-giving at Christmas is handled in two parts: First, the family will exchange gifts on Christmas Eve. Then Santa Claus handles Christmas morning.
We here at PSN hope that you have been inspired by our Real Moms that have shared, or have gained some new ideas about gifts to give as well as, perhaps, adding a new tradition to celebrate the holidays with your family.
- How to Make the Holidays Memorable During COVID
- 100 + “Mom Approved” Gifts for Kids with Special Needs
- 9 Great Toddler & Preschooler Toys for Kids with Special Needs
- How to be Fabulous Grandparents to a Child with Special Needs
- Socialize Successfully: A Few Simple Tips to Help You During the Holiday Season
- Holiday Help Things I Found to Be Helpful!
- Tips for Photographing Kids with Special Needs
- Happy Holidays How to Make a Video Holiday Card
- Holiday “Shared Enjoyment” Dr. Seuss Camera – Grinch Edition
- How to Make the Holidays Memorable During COVID
- Tech Fun Favorite Holiday Apps
- Tech the Halls and Transform Screen Time to Sharing Time
This post originally appeared on our November/December 2015 Magazine