Usually when I write a blog it takes me awhile to actually write it. Sometimes I spend 2 days on it just going over this and that with the subject that I have decided to write about. But I’m doing something different this time. I’m just writing whatever the hell pops in my head and here it is…
Christmas traditions are no longer a Christmas tradition to us in the autism world. Agree?? Well maybe some of you have a high functioning kid that knows about Santa, stockings, Christmas cookies, gifts and the “elf on the shelf.” You are one of the lucky ones in the autism world…well at least to me.
Growing up my mom explained to me the true meaning of Christmas, Jesus and his birthday and celebrating him. But growing up…I always had a wonderful and fantastic Christmas. I was never disappointed on Christmas morning. We did all the “normal” traditions. Decorating the tree with my sisters. Baking cookies on Christmas Eve, setting out cookies and milk the night before Christmas. Waking up early on Christmas morning to open up presents. I love Christmas traditions, I love wrapping the gifts and I love Christmas, not just because the presents, but because the true meaning. Growing up my mom would always say “Christmas is for the kids.” What she meant was the presents part was for the kids. Us believing in Santa was for the kids and those traditions were for the kids.
So here I am…a mom and my traditions aren’t happening this year. We will put up a tree unlike last year, but we won’t decorate it, only lights and a star (unless I find the plastic ornaments). We most likely won’t set out milk and cookies..I mean why should we? We will just go to the kitchen later that night and eat them when we want to. We aren’t wrapping ANY of the Monsters gifts this year, he won’t open them and if he does open 1 he will be done after that 1 present and then Mike and I will open the rest and have to clean up a mess that had no purpose.
And then I hear parents talk about “elf on the shelf.” And how they get to move it every night after their little one goes to bed and the next day it’s in a different spot. Their child wakes up and looks for it the next morning. That seems like a fun thing to do. I’m jealous of the elf…I hate it because I am jealous of the damn elf!
So where does the autism world fall into all of this? It doesn’t. All it does is add stress to our kids. I remember the Monsters first speech therapist telling me how her son had to see a therapist during the holiday season because of the transition from having school to being out for two weeks. Then to all the things that is going on during that time. I couldn’t help but think that the holiday time is added pressure and stress to our kids. Not excitement. Am I going to be happy on Christmas morning? Yes I am. I am going to be excited for the Monster. The night before Mike and I will open up every gift and take it out of its box and place them all out in a nice neat pile. The next morning that is what he will see under the tree. We know he is special and can’t handle the unwrapping part and Santa knows too ;).
Some of this sounds ridiculous to me to think how upset I am over Christmas traditions, but I can’t help it. Then I think of what I was always told, “Christmas is for the kids.” So as long as he is happy, I should be happy too. I should appreciate the smallest things and stop being so selfish. The meaning of Christmas has nothing to do with any of this. And when you celebrate Christmas with all of these things I should remember it is about the kids and their happiness when they open presents, not mine. He doesn’t care if they are wrapped or not. The Monster doesn’t care if there is a million decorations on the tree or if it just has lights. He doesn’t care about the stupid elf on a shelf…at all. He doesn’t care about putting out milk and cookies on Christmas Eve. He is going to be happy either way on Christmas morning and sees all the trucks and other toys. So why should I care? He is happy either way.