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Chanukah and Chappiness

December 9, 2019

I can’t believe it’s already December and 2020 is right around the corner! For me and my little family, this is not only one of our favorite times of the year, but also the busiest with the kids’ winter break from school, Chanukah and both of my kids’ birthdays… Oy! This year is particularly busy for us since we are also in the middle of moving homes (Yikes!), but I am determined to keep the fun train chugging along. 


There is definitely plenty to do and always something magical happening during this time of year. From attending one or more of the many community events that are offered around town to enjoying a quiet evening at home lighting menorah candles and eating Bube’s delicious latkes, there’s never a dull moment in the month of December. Below are some wonderful family events taking place, some great tips to navigate the holidays with special needs kiddos, and some Chanukah gift ideas for sensory sensitive/special needs kids. 


Chanukah events happening around town:

  • Frozen Chanukah on Ice at the Big Bear Ice Arena – December 22, 3:30-5:30pm (Tickets are $15 and free for kids under 2)
  • Chanukah Festival at the Family Sports Center – December 22, 3-5pm


Menorah Lighting and Community Chanukah Celebration through the Chabad Jewish Center:

  • Greenwood Village City Hall – December 23rd at 5:30pm
  • Parker O’Brien Park – December 26th at 4pm
  • Highlands Ranch – December 28th at 6pm
  • Castle Rock – December 29th at 3pm


Some tips for Sensory Sensitive and Special Needs Kiddos:

  • Of course don’t forget to bring your noise cancelling headphones everywhere. I mention this in every blog I write, because this little tip is truly a lifesaver and SO important for some of our kids. Anything that can aid in avoiding a meltdown is a must have, especially during the holidays!
  • If an event requires a lot of walking, I tend to bring my wagon with me for my son to sit and ride from time to time when he gets tired. I’m able to bundle him up and keep the festivities going vs having to leave early when he is tuckered out.
  • There tends to be lots of yummy goodies (latkes… Yay!) at a lot of these events. For those of us with kids with either sensory/texture issues and/or allergies, it is ALWAYS a good idea to come prepared by bringing safe foods from home. My son is allergic to eggs and dairy (among other things), so I make him my homemade latkes without egg (basically hash browns… Shhhh!) and bring those along with his dairy-free Enjoy Life Chocolate (aka Chanukah Gelt) with me to these events.


Some Sensory Friendly Gifts:

  • A couple of great places to shop for some wonderful Sensory Friendly gifts for Chanukah:
    • Beyond the Blackboard in Southlands Mall
    • Autism Community Store (14095 E. Exposition Ave, Aurora 80012)
  • Great Sensory Friendly gift ideas:
    • Super cozy weighted blankets
    • All sorts of tactile toys such as Magic Sand, Water Beads and lots of Fidgets (I know, don’t hate me!)
    • Many visually stimulating toys such as Liquid Floor Tiles and Bubble Tube Lamps


I hope this blog will help you navigate through this holiday season with minimal meltdowns and tons of joy and happiness! May you have a wonderful and memorable Winter Break and Chanukah with your loved ones and thank you for continuing to support my efforts in contributing One Piece of the Puzzle to making a better and more inclusive world for our kids! 



Bernadette Gien has been a stay at home mom for the past 13 years to two wonderful kids and just recently became a single mom. Prior to becoming a mom, she was a Massage Therapist and worked in various medical facilities in one capacity or another. She is currently pursuing her CNA license to enhance her skills in taking care of her special needs son and is constantly looking for new opportunities to volunteer and be involved in our special needs community. Berna moved to Colorado from Southern California almost 5 years ago and absolutely loves it here (even the snow!). She enjoys tapping into her creative side and has a hobby/side business making fused glass jewelry. She is an active member of the Jewish community and loves spending time with her kids, traveling when possible, and socializing with friends.

Additional posts written by Bernadette Gien
Starting the New Year with Special Support
Giving Special Thanks
Navigating Halloween and Seasonal Changes With Special Needs Children
One Piece Of The Puzzle – High Holidays

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