​Make the Holidays Inclusive

Posted by Nila Morton in Life After Paralysis on December 12, 2022 # Lifestyle

Nila's artworkThe holidays are my favorite time of the year because this allows me to be around those who I love. Nothing fills me up with joy like being around food and sharing laughter with loved ones while giving out gifts to show our appreciation to each other.

I can say I’m usually blessed to be able to have great holidays, but I also know while being disabled, the holiday celebrations can become difficult if it is not inclusive.

I want to share a few tips about ways to make holiday celebrations more inclusive because disabled people deserve to be a part of the celebration too.

1. Invite your disabled family member or friends:

There is a misconception that disabled people just stay inside their homes and never go out, which isn’t true for all disabled people. Some disabled people, including myself, love going out to have fun and be around people, especially family and/or friends. We often aren’t invited to events or don’t go to events because we are concerned that our accommodations to help us attend the event may be considered inordinate. To help disabled people feel more included, let us know our presence is appreciated and welcomed. Also, ask what kind of accommodations we may need so we can be comfortable at the event and have fun.

2. Make sure to have accommodations:

For each disability, different types of accommodations are needed depending on the person. Be sure to ask your disabled family members and friends what type of accommodation they will need when attending the event. By doing this, you are already letting the person know that they are welcome, and their disability will not be an issue or will hinder you from wanting them there.

3. Accessibility

As a wheelchair user, trying to find places that are accessible can be a chore. Lack of accessibility can cause some disabled people to decline an invite because there’s no way of attending the event. To include your disabled family member and friends, ensure the place of the event is accessible. For instance, check that the tables are low enough for wheelchair users. Make sure the place isn’t too far of walking distance for those who have limited walking mobility, and there is enough room to move around easily to prevent falling and injuries.

4. Communication is KEY!

The best way to make your holiday event inclusive for disabled family members and friends is by communicating with them. It is understandable to be nervous and not want to offend anyone while asking about accommodations. However, the worst mistake you can make while trying to make your event inclusive is by assuming someone’s accommodation instead of communicating and asking them about their needs. If you are worried about ways to ask, just ask by saying, “I truly would love for you to come to my Christmas party, and I want to know what I need to do to make the event accessible for you.”

5. Have fun and Enjoy

I truly believe once non-disabled people stop allowing their internal ableism to interfere with their interaction with disabled people, non-disabled people will truly see how fun disabled people can be. Disabled people are still people. We love to drink, eat, party, laugh, and do many other things that non-disabled people do. Our disability is a part of who we are, but it’s not ALL of who we are. Have fun with your disabled family members and friends!

Happy Holidays!!

My name is Nila Morton. I’m a 23-year-old woman in a wheelchair. I have a bachelor's degree in Psychology and hope to become a Clinical Psychologist one day. I love being around my family and friends. I have a dog named Chloe, who is the light of my life. My favorite things to do are shopping, traveling, trying new restaurants, writing, and reading. I hope that every day I inspire other disabled people to not be ashamed of their disability and to live their life to the fullest.

Social Media:

Instagram/TikTok/Twitter: @nilanmorton

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.