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Have Yourself an Inclusive Little Christmas

Christmas can be a hard time for so many across the country- and some may not celebrate in the same way that you and your family do. You yourself may need a little bit of help, so we have curated some tips and locations that may make the festive season a little bit easier, as well as how you can help others in less fortunate positions.

Christmas for many is the most wonderful time of the year. It’s all about spending time with loved ones, exchanging gifts and eating plenty of wonderful food. However- that isn’t the case for millions around the world who may have to celebrate Christmas in a slightly different way, or some not at all. We are going to document some of the issues that those who are less fortunate or who are living with a disability might struggle with during this time. To the best of our ability we are going to inform you on how you can help this Christmas to make it a much more Inclusive season for others. Or if you need help yourself, how it can be a little bit easier. A lot of people are going without food, family or gifts this year. Donating to local food banks, homeless shelters and even some residential homes if you have any spare room in your budget is great. Any donations make a massive difference to so many people. Plenty of locations like this also don’t just take food, but small toys for children whose families can’t afford them- which is so much more common than you think! Here are a few Birmingham establishments for food and toys: -Essential Delivery Food bank drop off -Birmingham Toy Donations -Online Birmingham Donation -Birmingham Central Food bank Christmas can be a massively lonely time for many people, and it is important that those who don't have a network of family and friends have someone to talk to. Even meeting up with a few others and getting out of the house could do wonders for individuals mental health. With ongoing Covid restrictions changing every day- there are also a few remote options for you! There are plenty of meetings and gatherings both remote and physical around the West Midlands region on Christmas Day for those who may be struggling with spending it alone: -Birmingham Christmas Shelter -Side by Side online community -Apply for a call companion -Three Trees Community Centre Full time carers may struggle to have time for any festivities Offering your help to these individuals whether that be dropping off food or a small gift will be such a small gesture but could make someone's whole day. Carers work hard all year, and deserve a Christmas like the rest of us. This can be often a tough situation as just because the festive season is here, their needs are still important. Some carers can incorporate their routines on Christmas Day, whether through their own techniques and facilities or just a great support system around them. For that- we applaud you! However, we also recognise that so many can't! If you are a carer and you may be struggling this Christmas; here are some outlets that may be useful: -Birmingham Carers Hub Christmas Quiz -Birmingham Carers Hub’s Carers Emergency Response Service -Birmingham Christmas Dinner for carers Sensory Overload For many SEN children, Christmas can be a complete sensory overload. The bright colours, flashing lights and pretty much everywhere being super noisy and busy. It can be stressful for a lot of mainstream adults- I didn’t like the rowdiness of the Christmas markets this year myself! So obviously, a lot of SEN children will have to miss out on many festive activities to avoid distress. However- there are a few events in the area that are catered to making the festive season a little easier for those with sensory needs across Birmingham: -AccessAble Contact Details for Birmingham Bullring -Dobbie’s Quiet Grotto -Ice Hockey Event for HAF Children -Inclusive Sports of course! Our three-day Christmas event is completely safe and SEN friendly. -Christmas Clubs for children and young people And of course- doing whatever is best for you and your family. The actual day can be a great source of stress as there may be a lot of people around, change of routine and general excitement for the day can cause a fuss. Doing whatever you find easiest for your household is the most important thing you can do. No-one knows your loved one better than you- and if you must celebrate a little differently to others, we know you will have a wonderful day either way. Some people don’t celebrate Christmas- how do we act? A lot of people don’t celebrate Christmas due to several different reasons whether it be religion or culture- and some people just don’t like the festive season! So how do you act? Don’t want to say the wrong thing or pressure people into joining in with the festivities? Well, there’s a few different things you can do! -Don’t pressure your colleagues to come to Christmas parties or engage in activities such as Secret Santa if they don’t want to. This isn't just respectful for cultural and religious reasons, but financial also. -Don’t question or bother the individual as to why they don’t celebrate Christmas, or if they do, explain listen respectfully. Just because some people don’t have the same view or tradition as you, doesn’t mean its wrong or you should challenge it! -If you know someone who celebrates another religion or culture- why not do some research and educate yourself on it? It’s never too late to learn! As well as this, why not add cultural decorations alongside traditional ones in the office space? Just a few of these religions can be Kwanzaa, Yule, Hannukah, Omisoka and the Winter Solstice. -Christmas can be a really hard time for many people, due to losses and tough memories. Again- if people don’t want to celebrate this year because of this, respect their opinion and don’t force them to take part in festivities. You thinking you're cheering them up may make them worse! Offer once, and if they turn it down please don’t press them to celebrate something they don’t want to. Avoid the banter of ‘Scrooge’ and ‘Grinch’. They may have a reason as to why they don’t like Christmas- so leave them to it! What are we doing to make Christmas more Inclusive? So you may ask “You have all of these tips to preach- what are you lot actually doing to make Christmas more Inclusive?” We are sure that you are aware of our three-day Christmas Camp that will be going ahead from the 20th-22nd December. This is to ensure that the children and young people of Solihull have a safe and Inclusive place to go during the festive season. A place where there are always fully trained staff and that the parents know their children will be safe. Finding childcare during the festive season to get shopping done is hard enough- it can be even harder when your child has additional needs. As well as this, providing a safe place where SEN children can spend time with their friends is both important yet hard to find. Some children on the camp may also come from families who can’t afford to take them to festive outings, and we also take that into account. Our camp is ensuring that the child is making wonderful festive memories without any financial strain from their families. These children and young people are so deserving of these wonderful days out, and we absolutely cannot wait to give it to them! We are also doing (again if you follow our social media, we’re sure you know) 25 days of Makaton! This consists of our junior content producer Ci demonstrating each day a festive themed word but in the form of Makaton sign language! This is intended to teach our audience something a little inclusive for the hard of hearing community. Even if just one person who follows our pages ends up using some of the Makaton signing, we've done exactly what we wanted to do. We ourselves held a little Inclusive Christmas party too at the office! To make sure that we didn’t all struggle financially or feel the pressure to buy everyone a present we instead did a secret Santa draw with a set price of £10. We also decided not to go on a large night out to again alleviate any financial pressure of each other, and instead just had a few festive snacks at the office. This could be an alternative for you at your own workplace to suggest to your co-workers. We hope this blog post has given you a few little tips on how to make Christmas more Inclusive, or we have somewhat made Christmas a little bit easier for you! From all of us at Inclusive Sports whether you celebrate it or not- have an absolutely wonderful, inclusive day!

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