Formerly House with No Steps and The Tipping Foundation

How to make your Christmas party accessible

Here's how to ensure your Chrissy party or BBQ is inclusive of everyone.

When planning the perfect Christmas party (now that we can have them, hooray!), accessibility can often be an afterthought. There can be a lot to plan – we get it! Thankfully, we’re here to help make sure your holiday celebrations are inclusive and accessible for everyone.

Stacey, Aruma Communications Officer and disability travel blogger (of Love Moxie fame), shares some simple ways to make sure your party can be enjoyed by all your guests. Here are her top tips:

1. Think about access needs

If you’re hosting a Christmas function at your office, be mindful of accessibility.

Check that doorways and corridors are clear of obstacles and tripping hazards. Make sure there’s enough seating, and space for wheelchair users to easily move around the room.

Explain the layout of the office to guests, including directions to toilets, quiet spaces, and fire exits.

If you’re planning an event at home, don’t forget to check with your guests about their access needs. This may include identifying accessible parking near to your home.

And if you’ve opted for a public venue, like a restaurant, be sure to check ahead that the venue is accessible for everyone. This includes asking if there’s accessible parking and transport nearby.

2. Play it safe with food

Whether you’re ordering catering or baking your own festive treats, be mindful of everyone’s dietary requirements.

To get an idea of what food you’ll need, ask guests about their dietary requirements when they RSVP.

Luckily, there are plenty of pureed, vegan, and vegetarian options, plus gluten, nut, and dairy-free recipes to choose from. If you’re stuck, a quick Google search will bring up lots of delicious options.

3. Watch out for sensory overload

There’s so much going on at a party: Bright lights! Loud noises! Lots of people! It can be easy to get overwhelmed. For people with autism or a sensory processing disorder, things can become particularly overwhelming.

Setting up a dedicated quiet space is a great idea for any party. This way, people can feel comfortable taking a break from the festivities if they need to.

4. Host a hybrid event

With COVID-19, some people may not feel comfortable attending events in-person yet, or they simply may not have the energy to attend.

If you’re hosting an in-person celebration, why not make it a hybrid event? Giving guests the option to attend via Zoom or another online platform means everyone can get involved in the festivities.

5. Always ask!

Most importantly, to make your celebration accessible and inclusive for your guests, ask them what they need!

Everyone has different access needs, so rather than assuming what people may need, a simple phone call or text message will help you find out how to make your party more inclusive.

Most people will appreciate you taking the time to ask.

Whether you’re hosting an office Christmas party or planning a family BBQ over the holidays, a bit of preplanning will go a long way in ensuring your event is accessible, inclusive, and fun for everyone.

Happy Holidays 🎄