Christmas can be a frustrating time if you are living with a visual impairment, with lots of things to prepare and new surroundings to adjust to. You have shared your top tips for making the most of the festive season. From writing Christmas cards to cooking Christmas dinner, we’ve included your favourites.
Writing, or receiving Christmas cards:
- Use white labels for writing addresses on coloured envelopes.
- Don’t write who it is to in the card, just write who it is from at the bottom.
- Some societies for the blind make extra-large print, talking or Braille Christmas cards, usually made in their craft groups, try and find out if yours does.
- Take a picture on a phone or tablet of the cards you receive, so you can zoom in. This also means you don’t have to keep the cards for sentimental value, as they are in your photo library instead.
Buying and wrapping presents:
- Use Easy Fundraising or Amazon Smile to do your shopping, it’s a gift for the Society too.
- Use a wrist Sellotape gadget, that way you know where the dispenser is.
- Use boxes for all gifts so they are easy to wrap or use gift bags with tissue paper on top.
- Wrap each person’s presents in different paper so you don’t need to look at gift labels when giving them out.
- Have a large refuse sack next to you and get everyone to bin their wrappings ASAP.
- Give each person a place to stack their presents, that way you won’t throw one in error.
- Use the camera on your tablet to watch people opening their presents, you can see much more.
Preparing the Christmas dinner:
- If you use the same recipes for years get your favourite recipes printed in very large print and put them in a display book.
- Download your favourite recipe videos onto your tablet and get a tablet holder for the kitchen.
- Use pre-prepared vegetables.
- Get oven shelf protectors and individual over gloves.
- If you can’t see the instructions on pre-prepared items, download a supermarket app, search for the item, you will find the description are the cooking guidelines.
- Set all your timers via a smart device, such as an Amazon Echo. For example: ‘Alexa, set reminder for carrots in 10 minutes’ or ‘Alexa, play me some Christmas music.’
- Don’t be afraid to ask for lots of help.
- Sit at the table when preparing food, you can get really close to what you are cutting and have a good light.
- If it’s all a bit much to face cooking the dinner explain this to the family, get a glass of wine and sit and orchestrate their cooking of the meal! You don’t lose control of the kitchen, just have a brigade, just like the top chefs.
- If it is all too stressful, it is worth considering going out next year. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, some pubs have really nice meals available. Book early!
At the Christmas table:
- Use plate chargers for contrast.
- Use wine glasses with coloured stems.
- Use electronic candles, they look great and don’t risk a fire if you knock them over.
- Try getting coloured serving dishes.
Macular Society Regional Manager, Michelle Dutton, says: "My son writes cracker jokes from the internet in large print and slides them into the crackers."
Washing and clearing up:
- Get someone else to do it....
- If someone else is emptying the dishwasher explain really carefully why everything has a place, why all the knife handles have to be the same way round and why they must ask where things go. It can take ages to find things after well-meaning friends and family have ‘helped’.
- Keep a page of labels and a black felt tip pen in the kitchen and stick the opening date on chutney, relishes and anything else you have in the fridge. There is so much in there over the holidays you can easily make sure you are not eating out of date food.
In addition to these top tips, some of our members’ favourite gadgets for the kitchen, which can prove particularly useful at this time of year. These include:
- Wrist dispenser for Sellotape.
- A ceramic cutter for opening parcels, plastic wrapped presents and food containers.
- A talking meat thermometer.
- Foil baking trays.
- Talking scales.
- Bright coloured chopping boards, measuring spoons and knives.
If you have any tips of your own to share, please get in touch by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org