Your first holiday parties after vision loss
~~ If you have enough vision to get by and have a partner or close friend to go with, you can just hang out elbow to elbow with your friend and have identifying information slipped to you: “Cousin Mel you are looking great”; “Don’t you think these pumpkin cupcakes look delicious!”
~~If you don’t have enough sight to “pass” you may prefer to be at home either skipping the holiday altogether (just this year), or celebrating it with your closest family or friend.
~~You may be ready for a round the table group of six to eight. In small groups the interactions are mostly verbal, with less communication through gesture and facial expression.
~~If you have a partner or friend sitting by you, acting as the magician’s assistant, you can probably conceal your sight problems pretty successfully.
~~If the occasion is long or there are more than twelve to fifteen guests, you might try to have an extra ally, so your Number One assistant can have time off.
~~You should consider delaying any announcement about your vision loss till after the family get together. Even favorite relations can say shockingly tactless things if taken by surprise after a few drinks.
After the first years when family and friends know about your vision loss
~~Whatever you bring, follow it into the kitchen, and make sure it gets put out. Stick a return address label onto the bottom of the dish.
~~If you arrive in good time, stand at the pinch point such as the living room door where you can hear all the voices and see the shapes as people arrive
~~Do not let anyone tell you to sit down, or “just relax” unless everyone else is doing the same.
~~Bring some extra napkins in your pocket or purse to pick up finger foods like shrimp, fruit pieces or cookies so you don’t finger other pieces by mistake.
~~Check out your place setting with your hands acting like delicate cat’s paws. Find napkin, side plate and most of all your glass, especially anything with a stem, and position it yourself.
~~Remember where that glass is, but still don’t do anything rash like helping to pass the turkey plate.
~~ If the meal is a buffet, hold your own plate and tap someone you can follow along the line to tell you the dishes and help with serving as needed
~~If the party is large, mark your coat with a mascot or textured scarf sticking out of a pocket or a clip-on illuminated L E D light.