Christmas Survival Toolkit


Christmas! “ It’s the most wonderful time of the year” – but not for Tom.

Like many autistic children, Tom reacted badly to changes in his routine and because of his sensory issues, he would easily be overwhelmed by lots of visitors, flashy decorations, loud music, and unfamiliar food. He was often tearful, confused, and distressed.

Using visual supports made Christmas a happier time for all our family. Here’s what we used to help us:

  • Pictures of Christmas things to familiarise Tom with all the different things he could expect to see at Christmas time.
  • A visual countdown to Christmas to help show him the difficult concept of time.
  • Pictures showing Tom his routine for the Christmas period to give him time to prepare himself for any changes.
  • Pictures of faces showing different emotions to help Tom quickly and easily share how he was feeling.
  • Picture reminders of how he could make himself feel better if he felt overwhelmed or anxious.

Knowing what to expect during the Christmas period helped to reduce Tom’s anxiety levels, frustrations, and meltdowns. Being able to share how he was feeling and manage his sensory reactions meant he was happier, calmer, and more relaxed.  

We put together this Christmas Survival Toolkit to help other families like us who want to have a more enjoyable and relaxing Christmas.

With this toolkit, you can use the TomTag system to create all the visual supports you need to help your child at Christmas so like Tom they can say ‘Christmas – I know what to expect and I can enjoy it too!’

Key benefits

  • Creating a visual routine and countdown to Christmas eases your child’s worries about the unknown and makes for a more enjoyable experience for all the family
  • Showing your child where Christmas fits into their regular routine at home and at school, helps prepare and reassure them in advance about changes to their normal routine
  • Making a visual guide of all things Christmassy is a great way to show your child what Christmas looks like and is a permanent reminder in case they forget
  • Preparing for visitors and visits to family and friends by showing your child who they will be meeting and how to behave reduces their social anxiety
  • Giving your child a nonverbal way to show you how they are feeling helps reduce their distress which can often lead to meltdowns
  • Helping your child manage any sensory overload with personalised reminders of what they can do to make themselves feel better reduces meltdowns
  • Portable, discrete and durable compared with paper and board alternatives -perfect for carrying with you when you’re out and about to reassure your child as needed

Toolkit contents

  • 7 Button Holders ( in your choice of colours – use the order notes to specify your choice) 
  • 50 blank buttons to give you the flexibility to create routines, checklists, and reminders
  • 1 attachment loop to fasten your TomTag to a bag, belt, or hook
  • 1 lanyard to wear your TomTag so it’s easily to hand
  • Easy to follow instructions sheet to assemble your TomTag
  • Copies of the following download guides:
  • 1 Share How I Feel Minikit to help your child share and discuss their feelings, worries, and emotions( in your choice of colour- use the order notes to specify your choice) 
  • Sticker packs:
    • 1 Christmas & Birthdays Sticker Pack: Contains 72 symbol stickers ( x 2 copies) for you to choose from to plan and prepare for Christmas and birthday celebrations and changes to routine 
    • 1 Feelings & Emotions Sticker Pack: Contains 72 symbol stickers ( x 2 copies) for you to choose from to help with expressing, communicating and coping with feelings, thoughts and emotions. 
    • 1 Blank Sticker pack: Contains 24 blank stickers for you to make a personalised countdown to Christmas. 

SAVE £2.10 The contents of this toolkit are worth £50.10 when bought separately

Click the images to enlarge and view the gallery.


  • TomTag Button Holder:18cm x 3cm
  • Buttons: 2cm diameter

Special Offer

Add the TomTag Feelings Notebook to your Christmas Survival Toolkit order for £12 ( saving £3). Use the Feelings Notebook with the Share How I feel Minikit to help your child explore, understand, and communicate their feelings ( use the drop-down box below to add this offer to your order)

How does TomTag work?

TomTag uses symbols to show a series of separate tasks or steps involved in a task that are part of a routine, a sequence of events in a timeline, or they can be used as a list to teach a new skill by breaking down a single activity into smaller steps.

Many children with autism and other additional needs have strong visual skills. They are more likely to remember and understand what they have seen rather than what they hear. Using a visual support like TomTag to present information visually and in a step-by-step manner allows visual thinkers and learners to take in information at their own pace. Visuals can also act as a reminder when children forget what’s been said or become distracted, TomTag helps to bring their attention back to the task or current situation.

WARNING: Please note – TomTag is not a toy. Not suitable for children under 36 months due to small parts.

Symbol images produced under licence from Widgit Symbols (C) Widgit Software 2002-2023 All other images (C) Orkid Ideas Limited 2023


Additional information

Pack type

with notebook, without notebook

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