One Size Doesn’t Fit All When It Comes to My Angel’s Christmas List

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by Sabrina L. Johnson |

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Finding the right gift for an Angel can be tough. However, when I decided to let go of old expectations, I was able to craft the perfect Christmas list for my 11-year-old Angel, Juliana.

When Juliana was younger, I was all over the place when choosing gifts for her. Then I received a link to a post by a special needs blogger who touted the perfect gift list for Angels. I thought my search was over.

I couldn’t follow that link fast enough. But when I got to the post, I discovered more links to only sensory toys. Many of the gift ideas weren’t new to me or practical for Juliana. However, that blog post really got me thinking about what I was trying to accomplish.

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Saying goodbye to guilt gifting

I wanted to make sure that Juliana had a ton of options for toys, just like her younger sister, Jessa. Because Angels don’t have strong fine motor skills, a typical toy might be difficult to play with or manipulate the way it was intended. I could buy regular toys, as I have in the past, but that doesn’t mean Juliana will play with them. Or that the toys will survive her rough play sessions.

One Christmas, I bought Juliana a musical toy she really enjoyed. But she banged it so much that it didn’t last but a few hours. When I mentioned the scenario to one of her therapists, she suggested I rent adaptive toys from Lekotek, a local play and therapy center.

I am impressed with Lekotek and its mission to bring adaptive play and other activities to children with disabilities. However, we have yet to visit. I have also stopped scouring websites and stores for the perfect toys for Juliana.

Why? Because I now realize Juliana couldn’t care less about most toys. She has come to enjoy our simple Christmas Day tradition, and it’s not about her having a ton of presents under the tree.

holiday gifts with Angelman | Angelman Syndrome News | Juliana wears red and white striped pajamas and sits on a carpet holding a beach ball and a homemade shaker on Christmas morning.

Juliana enjoys a beach ball, a homemade shaker, and her favorite doll on Christmas morning in 2018. (Photo by Sabrina L. Johnson)

All she wants for Christmas

So, for the past several years, Juliana has had a unique version of a favorite things list for Christmas. Her list includes a stuffed ladybug doll that makes a rattle noise and lots of beach balls. I also add on a few clothing items and some other small favorites for her stocking.

The pressure to find the perfect gifts and make Christmas magical is a fallacy. Giving my Angel time with her favorite people and her favorite things is more than enough to make her Christmas morning merry and bright.


Note: Angelman Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Angelman Syndrome News, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Angelman syndrome.


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