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Decorating the Christmas Tree: An Experience Book Tradition

Put together an experience book with children who are visually impaired or deafblind based on decorating the Christmas tree.

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!

Materials

  • 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: 
 
 
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

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