Easterseals Midwest lists top sensory-friendly holiday events
St. Louis, MO – Twinkling lights. The smell of gingerbread. Holiday carols filling the air. For many, it’s these things that get them right into the holiday spirit. But for families with sensory sensitivities, the sights and sounds of the season can be a bit too much.
“A lot is going on at Christmas time. There’s lights, new smells, big crowds, Christmas music blaring everywhere – it can be overwhelming for a child with sensory processing needs. It can even be overwhelming for a child without those needs,” Melanie Mills, Director of Autism Services at Easterseals Midwest, said. “Fortunately, over the last few years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of performance venues, retailers, restaurants, and other locations taking into account the needs of children with intellectual or developmental disabilities, including autism.”
Children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, often have sensory processing needs, which means new, numerous, or abrasive things in their environment can become overwhelming.
No one deserves to miss out on the joy of the season. So instead of hibernating until January, check out Easterseals Midwest’s list of the top sensory-friendly holiday events throughout the St. Louis area:
1. Easterseals Midwest’s Milk and Cookies with Santa
Dec. 3, 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.: Milk and Cookies is a holiday tradition that offers a one-stop-shop for all things Christmas. Not only does Milk and Cookies offer a sensory-friendly chance for kids to meet Santa, but it also features a Kid’s Korner full of holiday activities, a balloon artist, temporary holiday tattoos, carols by the Lindbergh High School South Choir, and goodies by Nothing Bundt Cakes. This free holiday event is the perfect way to get you and your family in the holiday spirit. Pre-registration is appreciated. Learn more here.
2. St. Louis Zoo’s Sensory-Friendly Wild Lights Night
Dec. 9, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.: Nothing says St. Louis Christmas quite like Wild Lights at the St. Louis Zoo. Your family can stroll through the grounds surrounded by a million lights, including animated displays, fireside stories, campfire s’mores, photo opportunities, and more. This event is made sensory-friendly with trained staff on-hand and quiet areas to help your child decompress. Get more information and tickets at stlzoo.org.
3. Saint Charles Christmas Traditions on Historic Main Street – Sensory-friendly tours
The Historic Main Street of Saint Charles is a magical and fun place to visit during the Holiday season. With a new inclusion initiative, Saint Charles is now offering guided sensory-friendly tours. These guided tours are conducted twice daily by sensory specialists. Each 90-minute tour introduces guests to several Christmas Legends and ends with an opportunity to get your picture with Santa and a full deck of 2019 Saint Charles Christmas Traditions trading cards. Tours are Saturdays and Sundays during the holiday festival. For more information, including dates and times, visit discoverstcharles.com.
About Easterseals Midwest | Easterseals Midwest is a nonprofit organization changing the way the world defines and views disability by making profound, positive differences in people’s lives every day. The organization employs 1,800 employees delivering services to more than 5,000 individuals statewide through four divisions: Autism Services, Community Living Services, Early Childhood Services, and Employment Services.