I love Christmas. Pretty much everything about it, from baking mince pies to wrapping presents. I love walking outside and soaking up the atmosphere as Christmas shoppers walk by and I love trips to Santa with the children.
Yet, for the Bear over the years Christmas hasn’t always been as easy. The hustle, the bustle, the fear of Santa and a world where for a month pretty much everything changes has meant that my idea of what makes up Christmas has had to change.
In fact there was one year where even getting out of the house in December was a challenge.
Christmas events are often hard for families of children with Autism, especially those that have other siblings who enjoy a more active December.
Harlow Carr’s Glow event is the perfect compromise, I know we’ll be back again and again over the festive period.
So What Do We Love About It?
As RHS members we’ve been frequent visitors to Harlow Carr for several years. It’s a brilliant place for all children but especially for those who find crowds difficult.
No matter how busy the carparks look, it never feels busy inside. It’s easy to spend time with others or find space to be alone.
I was worried that because the Glow event is only in a small part of the Gardens it would feel busier, but I needn’t have been. There was plenty of space for everyone to enjoy the magic without feeling crowded.
Betty’s is on hand, which means that even on a cold Winter’s night there is a way of keeping warm. We bought hot chocolates to take away and drank them on the way around.
The atmosphere truly is magical, trees are lit from a variety of different angles whilst accessories like illuminated snowflakes hang off others.
On the way round there’s a reindeer dust station, where children (and grown ups) can fill their own bag of magic to sprinkle on Christmas Eve. I love that everything in there is edible by wildlife. But more than that I loved that the station was unmanned. Meaning that the Bear could enjoy the activity without having to deal with strangers. What’s more the cost was included in the entry fee, so even if you forget your change the children can still have a go.
The walk is just the right length, long enough to soak up the Christmas atmosphere but no so long it’s too cold for the little ones to be out at night.
What About From An Autism Perspective?
Honestly, this is the most Autism friendly Christmas activity we have yet to find. Relaxed, enjoyable, plenty of space and no need interact with others unless you would like to. It really is perfect.
What Would We Change?
The weather. Add in a little bit of warmth and it would be even more perfect. But as in reality that isn’t possible, it’s an event that really is perfect just the way it is.
Will We Be Visiting Again?
Absoloutely, without a doubt. I think we’ll probably be heading there most weekends between now and the end of December, and enjoying soaking up the Christmas magic.