Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Decorating the Christmas Tree: An Experience Book Tradition

Christmas tree book cover

We have made it a tradition that my son Liam (who is deafblind) and his little brother Finn, each get to decorate their own small Christmas tree.  Every year, I introduce new items they get to add to their tree. We decorate our tree in this order:  First we add the tree skirts, then the Christmas lights, Christmas string and ornaments.  We save their favorite part for last; adding the star to the top of the tree!


  • Pencil zipper pouches
  • Tree with decorations
  • Items to represent the decorations you put on the tree
  • A binder to put pencil pouches in
  • Braille to label the pouches
Decorating the tree is one of the boys’ favorite things to do for Christmas.  Immediately after we decorate the tree, Liam and I (with little brother watching and ‘helping’) put together his Christmas Tree Experience Book.  I created, ahead of time, a binder that has 5 zipper pouches.
Each pouch had braille words with the steps that we completed together to decorate the tree: 
"my christmas tree" pouch with mini christmas trees"Christmas balls" pouch with ornaments"Christmas string" with tinsel
"Christmas lights" pouch with Christmas lights inside Christmas star
I gathered materials to put in the book beforehand (for example: I had a few bulbs for the Christmas lights, and a small Christmas trees that felt the same as his tree).  We would discuss each step together and I would have Liam add the objects to the pouches.  He loves to read his Christmas Tree book often.  I let him bring it to school the day after we put the tree up to share with his teachers and friends at school.  

Why our family loves experience books:

  • Experience books are tools that give Liam opportunities to share his experiences with others.

  • Encourages conversations in a way that is meaningful to Liam.

  • Gives Liam a sense of ownership.

  • Motivating

  • More opportunities for exposure to braille

  • Sequencing events/steps


Other Christmas Experience Book Possibilities:

  • Frosting Christmas cookies

  • Visiting Santa 

  • Christmas parties/events


Collage of decorating the Christmas tree


LOVE LOVE LOVE these ideas!

Posted by wilson_kc

Posted on December 14, 2014
Updated on: February 7, 2018

Previous comments for Decorating the Christmas Tree: An Experience Book Tradition

wilson_kc commented on December 15, 2014

I love love love LOVE Liam's mother's ideas.  Her creativity has inspired me to come up with some of my own.  I wish every parent could be encouraged by this and venture out on their own to make some of these experience books.  Keep up the good work and creative ideas.  And thank you for sharing with us.