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Published: December 14, 2022
Celebrating the Holidays with Accessibility in Mind

A multi-generational family sits around a table that with place settings for a meal.

Even those of us who look forward to the holidays as a time to celebrate with friends and family know that this time of year can be very complicated. Relationships, diets, traditions, and finances are just a few things that need to be juggled, and for people with disabilities, this can be even more difficult.

If you’re hosting or helping put on any festivities, there are a few things you can keep in mind to make sure that everyone who attends, whether they have a disability or not, will feel known, valued, and included:

  • Think about how people will move around the event! Are there any physical barriers that could affect someone with a disability involving their mobility? Look at the paths you expect guests to take from the entrance to the food, to the gifts, to the restrooms. Are spaces wide enough for a wheelchair or someone using a cane or walker? Are there any trip hazards such as tall rugs or power cords? Often, addressing these obstacles can be as easy as moving furniture over a few inches.
  • Especially when the weather outside is frightful, temperature regulation can be challenging. One way to make guests comfortable is to have a stack of blankets available so that they can help themselves if it’s too cold. This is good hosting in general; disability or not, most people love being cozy in the winter!
  • If you’re serving alcoholic drinks, consider offering non-alcoholic versions such as mocktails. Often alcohol can negatively interact with medications, so providing the option to have a fun holiday drink that won’t have any unexpected effects will make your gathering memorable. Examples could be eggnog with the liquor left out, or spiced cider alongside mulled wine.

The possibilities are endless!

Depending on the specifics of your plans, there are all kinds of ways to spread holiday cheer by making your celebrations more accessible for everyone. If there’s someone you have in mind who may have accessibility needs that you’re not sure about, just ask them!

Letting someone with a disability know that you’re thinking about them and that you want them to be able to enjoy themselves fully is a gift at any time of year!

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