I’m not going to write this blog as a moan about Christmas; it’s a great time of the year and even more so if you have young children that really get excited about the tree, fairy lights, countdown to Santa and (this might only be in our house) the annual viewing of Home Alone!
As a blind person, it is important that things remain reasonably consistent so that I know where they are and I can find them if I need them. This applies to everyday items such as the TV remote control (known as the plonker in our house) and coasters on the coffee table. Items in our fridge and kitchen cupboards are generally pretty orderly with things like the cheese and butter having their place on the top shelf and the jam being on the left side of the middle shelf in the fridge door for example. Even having furniture kept in the same position enables me to navigate the house with ease or means that I only stub my toes when I’ve misjudged my position.
But when Christmas comes along… all change!
Furniture is moved to make way for the tree, tinsel is hung around the mirrors and pictures, fairy lights illuminate the windows and shelves and Christmas ornaments and candles appear on every surface available. Extra food is ordered in as if the shops are going to be closed for a month and the advent calendars get moved from side to table and back again each time we’re in the kitchen.
It extends outside too… our local shop, one that I use on a regular basis, now has dozens of Christmas trees outside making it difficult to find the door and, once inside, has an array of Christmas goodies on sale stacked on shelves and floor displays that only appear at Christmas time. All the shops in town are in full Christmas swing, with every aisle having been changed to accommodate the vast range of products available for sale, with further objects being placed in the places where I used to navigate reasonably successfully and the volume turned up on the sound system so that everyone can hear the festive tunes!
This really isn’t a moan, I know it might sound like it but it isn’t intended to be one… think of it more of an opportunity to raise the awareness around what it is like to be vision impaired, the changes that make getting around that bit more difficult and to share the reasons why people with a vision impairment have an order to our lives.
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