The holidays are fun and exciting for most children! However, some families have children who are easily overwhelmed during this time of year. Some parents can be anxiously waiting to see if their child is able to deal with the sensory stimulation of lights, new smells and sounds taking place around them. In my experience as a Mom having an adult child who is multi-handicapped including autism AND as a CCESC consultant, I've found that it helps to try to be prepared. Being proactive gives us a better chance to lessen both our anxiety- and the anxiety our child has too.
Parent TIP- One small tip I still use is the "backpack." We have a designated backpack for holiday trips both near and far to either familiar or new places. We pack a few things in a backpack to assist our son with venturing out to visit family/friends or attend events for the holidays. In the backpack we put a hat and sunglasses to block some of the light- a couple snacks and box drink that he likes, wipes or napkins, his DS player (fully charged), and games he can independently play. We sometimes bring the laptop and a movie he can watch- a sensory assist for sound music with ear buds. We also have an extra outfit in the car because he is intolerant of a spill on his clothes.
All people are different. Parents, you know what your child prefers. By proactively being prepared you will help your child be more tolerant of new situations and outings. This allows you and your family to enjoy outings too!