Reducing Holiday Stress for the Vision Impaired

Reducing Holiday Stress for the Vision Impaired

The holidays can be filled with celebrations and wonderful times. However, they can also be a time of great stress, and even sadness. Those with vision loss or visual impairments can face extra challenges during the holidays that the rest of us are likely not aware of. End-of-the-year holidays can create pressure to do extra shopping and cooking, an increase in gatherings can add anxiety, and travel can cause stress. (Some resources for travelers with vision impairment: Here are some ideas to help make the holidays less stressful and more enjoyable for those with vision impairment or loss.

Hosting a party? If you will be hosting any holiday parties and someone with vision loss or impairment may be attending, there are some simple things you can do to help keep the season bright.

  1. Make sure any decorations or décor do not present a tripping hazard (this is good advice for any situation).
  2. Choose some natural décor that has a scent, or add your own holiday scent such as cinnamon or pine. Battery-operated scented candles are safe and festive.
  3. Select decorations that are safe for touching. Even your tree can be tactile, and invite guests to touch it.
  4. If you are having guests help out at the gathering, don’t be afraid to give a doable task to someone who is visually impaired. This can help them stay busy and feel included.
  5. Make sure there are some foods that are easy to manage, and make sure any food that is hot is monitored (for everyone’s safety).
  6. Double check that anyone with vision issues hasn’t been sidelined in an out of the way chair. If you see that has happened, help them find a group to chat with.

Decorating a Tree? Here are some tree decorating suggestions to consider when you are keeping those with vision loss or impairment in mind.

  1. Put the tree in a corner.
  2. Use high contrast ornaments or ribbons that stand out from the tree.
  3. Use different colors of lights on different tree segments. This not only increases visual interest and makes it easier to see the size of the tree, but allows the bottom of the tree to stand out from the rest, reducing tripping concerns.
  4. Avoid lights that flash rapidly or twinkle, which can contribute to eye strain.
  5. Use ribbon or another soft material to hang ornaments, rather than hooks.
  6. Consider braille ornaments, which can be found from many places such as Etsy ( Use high-texture ornaments, and ornaments that make sounds, such as bells.
  7. Hang ornaments in a way that they won’t fall off if touched.
  8. Ensure that the tree can’t tip over easily.
  9. If you’re putting gifts under the tree, use different wrapping papers and textures to help your visually impaired loved one differentiate between them easier.

Did you know that visually impaired children can receive letters from Santa in braille? Check that out at

Happy Holidays from LSH to you!

Remember that the Southern California Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation funds services to restore the gifts of sight and hearing for those who can’t afford the help they need. If you feel that you or someone you love is experiencing sight issues that could benefit from our services call us at 1.800.647.6638 or visit How to Qualify at

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