So it’s here again. Christmas is upon us. Trees are up presents are being wrapped. Everyone is getting into the festive spirit.
We are too!! A lot has stayed the same, the tree, the big tubs of celebrations and roses that are always stocked under the tree for nibbling throughout December. That’s one of our traditions. We stockpile them for opening in December.
The Christmas music on the radio. Band aid came on the radio and as Paul Young sang…
“At Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid” this is true. There is no need to be afraid but there is a need to be prepared!
As most of you know we’re 3 years since diagnosis and it was only last year – Sam had just turned 5 – that I realised our traditional Christmas needed to be altered a bit. Tweaked to suit Sam. Previous years have seen us (Stu & I) excitedly handing Sam his pressies helping him rip off the paper whilst we wait excitedly for the reaction we expect. Even knowing what I knew about autism the traditional Christmas didn’t change. It needed to.
I can’t say that at one point or another I didn’t wonder about having the perfect family Christmas card Christmas. I did, until I realised that if we can keep Sams equilibrium then we all have a better day. It’s not about what Christmas should look like. It is what it is ❤️
So last year instead of being super excited for him, we stopped and thought about it. We still got hyper and excited with Connor but with Sam we handed him a present to open and if he wanted to he opened it if he didn’t that was ok too. We followed his lead. His were the only presents left under the tree so we waited for him to choose when to open the next one. I think he opened his last present a few days after Christmas Day. This is what he needed, and this is what we were able to give him because we’d thought it through. Time to process.
Christmas Day can be a really overwhelming day for anyone, just imagine how that could feel for someone on the autistic spectrum.
It isn’t a natural reaction, this way of doing things because as parents we remember the excitement and the anticipation we felt as children, once we realised that’s just not it for Sam it became something else. It has to for it to work.
This year to Sam it means very little at the moment. He said Merry Christmas when all the lights went up and he says Santa but right now it doesn’t need to be a focus.
Christmas Day itself is gonna be really chilled for us, no one visiting as people are away but Boxing Day we have a party. It’s the 3rd year we’ve held it and is a new tradition. Sam is quite sociable in his own home and he usually has fun, and if at any point he becomes overloaded my family and friends all know how to behave around him and I take him upstairs to decompress for a bit.
I love our Boxing Day party, everyone’s over the climax of Christmas Day and are just happy to be together. Another thing about my friends knowing our life as they do, they are happy to come into our environment because there is no way as a family we could go into theirs over the festive period.
So while we may still have some traditions in place we also have amended traditions. New ones that work, it’s still a work in progress and I’m sure like any family Christmas there will be moments but looking at life through our lens means we do things a little differently. So if you are thinking about your little one this Christmas, have a think while you have time, about what traditions you can start this year to make it the best it can be 🎄🌟🥳
We hope you all have a wonderful joy filled Christmas 💙💙💙