Our Autism decorated our house for Christmas today.
A tree and a few decorations have landed in our front room…..intruded.
Lights are hung in the window where my girl can’t see them.
Our house. My girls safe place.
Since having a child with Autism I have really appreciated the basics of Christmas.
I have learnt to love Christmas for what it is, not how we decorate it.
My girl cannot tolerate the bright, flickering lights, the sparkly tinsel, the playing of Christmas music….so we have stripped it right back to basics.
We have a tree.
Matt dull bauble and beads instead of tinsel and glitter.
We have lights for decoration, but they are only ever switched on when my girl is asleep.
Little ornaments are hung around the room, tiny santas decorate pictures on the walls.
Gone are the days when we decorated our lounge like Santas grotto with tinsel surrounding every picture.
Gone are the days of 6 sets of lights in various colours and flashing different sequences stuck to every surface possible.
Gone are the days of turkey for dinner.
Gone are the days where every present is a suprise.
Gone are the days we count the sleeps in excitement.
Gone are the days we talk about Santa coming into our house.
Christmas is like any other day…..
….routine based with chicken nuggets.
Social media is constantly full of photos of christmas trees, outside lights and the antics of Elf on the Shelf.
Events and activity invites flood my page.
Christmas Eve timelines consist of pictures of presents piled up under the tree and drinks and snacks left for Santa.
I used to love it.
I used to be the same.
I felt proud of what we had achieved…..I wanted to show it all off.
I did show it all off.
I used to, Christmas is so different now.
I still enjoy seeing them all,
……this is what I have learnt.
Christmas is not about the lights, the decorations, the tree, the turkey, the elf.
Stripped back to the basics Christmas is just as enjoyable.
Stripped back to the basics means my girl can enjoy Christmas with reduced sensory input.
Stripped back to the basics means less meltdowns and challenging behaviour.
My boy still loves every second as the magic is not lost.
We keep the magic, we just adapt it to suit us.
I used to think Christmas was all about making every year better.
A bigger tree, more lights, more tinsel.
I used to join in all the trends so my children would fit in with everyone else.
I used to be just like everyone else, they way I thought I should be.
Now I don’t, I see what we have been missing and I am starting to love Christmas again..
…..however stressful it still is!
It is never going to be easy for my girl. Ever.
But as long as we have chicken dippers for her Christmas lunch, we know we will have got something right!
Christmas used to be my most favourite time of year.
I still love it, but the build up and the change of routine fills me with fear.
The sensory overload means regular meltdowns as it is just too overwhelming.
December is the hardest month of the year.