a blog by an autistic adult

Category: Holidays (page 2 of 2)

Happy day to dads

My dad is gone, but I would like to wish a happy Father’s Day to all the dads who read here. One of the things I was surprised about when I first started my site was how many parents emailed me to ask questions or messaged to say one of my posts helped them better understand their kids. A lot of those messages have been from dads. I also have had a chance to meet some awesome autistic dads through my page. I hope you’re all having a great day xo

(Image text: Anne Geddes quote "Any man can be a father but it takes someone special to be a dad."

(Image text: Anne Geddes quote “Any man can be a father but it takes someone special to be a dad.”

I don’t feel like I missed out.

Sometimes the best gift you can give someone is listening to them and respecting their choice to not do something.

Image: Sometimes the best gift you can give someone is listening to them and respecting their choice to not do something.

I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on Facebook lately from parents who are worried their autistic kids are missing out on “holiday fun” such as Santa, because their kids are overwhelmed or afraid etc. I can only speak for myself, but I don’t feel like I missed out.

I never went to see Santa because I was scared, had no desire to be touched by a stranger, hated crowds and waiting in line, noise etc. Same with parades, childhood parties, and many other things that many people thought I was “missing out” on. These things are supposed to be fun, but they aren’t fun for me or some other autistic people.

There’s no missing out when it is something you would hate. There are plenty of other things in life that we have to learn to do to survive. Those things take a lot of energy. Why waste more energy suffering through something that is totally optional like a visit to Santa?

Sometimes the best gift you can give someone is listening to them and respecting their choice to not do something.

When you can’t afford Christmas

iced sugar cookies

As I’ve mentioned previously, the holidays can be depressing for many of us on the spectrum. The holidays can be depressing for anyone, really. I’ve had my share of being too depressed to enjoy Christmas. I think that one reason so many people feel depressed around the holidays is because they are alone. Another reason is that many people are in bad financial situations and can’t afford to celebrate Christmas the way they wish they could.

It’s especially sad when you can’t afford to get your kids something for Christmas. I’m not a parent myself, but I grew up with a mom who worked hard and yet could barely pay the rent. Even though December has just started, I’ve already been seeing a lot of posts on Facebook this year from parents who can’t afford to buy their kids presents. It’s hard when your kid believes in Santa and yet you can’t afford to buy the kids what they asked Santa for. Some people can barely afford anything, let alone a toy for their kids.

While there are some charities that pass out Christmas presents to underprivileged kids, I have yet to run across one that also provides gifts to older children. I recently came across a mom of two autistic daughters who could not afford to buy her adult children anything for Christmas. I’m sure there are many others in this same situation. I wish I had the energy to set up some kind of page so that families who can’t afford gifts for their kids could post Amazon wishlists or something like that, and then the people who could afford to buy gifts for these kids could do so anonymously. Unfortunately, I’m not sure of a way to do this in a way that people could be sure that no one is taking advantage of the honor system. If anyone has any ideas or a way to implement something like this, that would be awesome.

In the meantime, there is a new group on Facebook started by the big sister of an autistic boy. The group is for people who are looking for a specific gift that someone else might have laying around at home. People can also offer old toys for free, or in exchange for the other person paying shipping. The name of the Facebook group is Special Wants. If you can’t afford to buy your autistic child a gift this year, this could be a good place to look. (I have no affiliation with the people who run this group, but they seem like good people.)

I also wanted to provide some ideas for people who can’t afford to spend much (or anything) on gifts this Christmas. While I’m ok financially right now, I spent many years not being able to afford gifts. So I’ve gotten creative.

One idea is to establish early on with immediate family that each family member will make their own gifts for each other. This could be a craft, a drawing, a meal, or anything that you know how to make.

Another idea is to do an exchange of good deeds. I got this idea from a movie but can’t remember the title. Basically everyone draws the name of one family member randomly and does good deeds for this person. It’s like a Secret Santa except with doing nice things. You could make the person’s bed or do their chores, etc.

One of my favorite things growing up was to make a coupon book. Each of my family members would make one for each other. Inside would be different coupons that would apply to that family member. For example, my mom would give me coupons for a night off from doing a specific chore, or for reading an extra book to me that night, or for letting me stay up an hour past bedtime. You could give your spouse a coupon for an evening out, or whatever they might like. This would obviously only work with children who are developed enough to understand the concept, but it is a fun idea for those who would enjoy it.

For friends, I have often given the gift of my time or services. I have given friends the gift of babysitting their kids for free, and in exchange they have given me the gift of driving me to appointments etc.

If you have some more ideas, please post them in the comments.

Christmas in July

christmas cookies

I love Christmas, but I don’t like all the stress that goes with it in December. My idea of a nice Christmas is sitting around in holiday pajamas, drinking hot chocolate, eating Christmas cookies, and watching my favorite Christmas movies.

Unfortunately, Christmas in December usually involves all kinds of other drama that I prefer to ignore such as shopping for gifts, having to choose between accepting or rejecting invitations to family functions, deciding whether or not to cook a Christmas dinner or decorate the apartment, etc. Anticipating the stress of the holiday often ruins my Christmas in December.

So I started a new tradition a few years ago: Christmas in July.

I don’t always do it in July. One year it was October. You can do Christmas any time.

I decided that this past weekend was the perfect time for me to do my Christmas in July celebration, since I had just managed to avoid a meltdown and was feeling particularly stressed. Plus, it was the last weekend in July already!

I made myself a turkey tv dinner with my favorite mashed potatoes and cranberries, microwaved some instant hot chocolate, ate sugar cookies, and watched some of my favorite Christmas dvds: Charlie Brown’s Christmas, Home Alone 1 and 2, Elf, and Christmas with the Kranks. I also read my favorite Christmas book, The Polar Express.

I have found that if you decide to celebrate Christmas in July (or August, or March), you can celebrate any way you want. I don’t enjoy cooking a big meal, so I cook something simple that I love for a treat. One year I filled a stocking for myself to open in July, which was fun because it made me feel like a kid again. I always loved getting a stocking.

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