Sunday, 22 December 2013

Christmas in an Aspie household

Christmas has always been a low-key affair at our place.  We're not a very big family, or particularly outgoing, and we're not big on "stuff" so the whole commercial aspect of the season doesn't mean much to us.  Quite a few of us are also neurologically interesting, and it's interesting how, without conscious planning, our Christmas traditions have evolved to be very Aspie-friendly.

If at any time in the previous 12 months you've used "retard" as an insult, Santa will shit in your stocking
1. Christmas is home-time

It's not a day to be spent travelling, traipsing around various relatives' houses, at the beach, in a restaurant, or anywhere other than at our own HQ.

2.  It's predictable and simple

 Our family Christmas routine every year looks like this:
  • Open presents
  • Have breakfast
  • Do any plant watering, animal feeding or other jobs that don't stop just because it's Christmas
  • Play with, assemble, try on, watch, listen to or read our presents
  • Lunch.  This used to always be a roast chook or duck back when we kept our own poultry, but these days it's more likely to be some cold ham and salad, which is easier to prepare and leaves less washing up
  • Nap
  • Afternoon tea
  • Phone calls to other branches of the family
  • TV or more faffing about with our presents
  • Tea time, extended TV or present-faffing, and bed

3. We don't do complicated decorations

Our total efforts in the decorating stakes usually run to one small Christmas tree with a few baubles, and a small bookshelf nativity scene made up of whichever bits of the nativity set we haven't lost yet, supplemented with a selection of ornaments, action figures, and random household objects.  (FYI that shell makes a better manger than the actual manger that came with the set.)  Compared to that, the visual clutter of the decorations in the shopping centres just knocks me backwards.

4.  We don't really do lights

We have a single string of plain, non-coloured, non-blinking, non-fancy-shaped lights on the tree this year, but we seldom turn them on.  We turn them on now and again to enjoy the ambience, but when we're done enjoying the ambience we turn them off again.  They don't stay on while we're watching TV, for instance, or playing the piano (the only other things we really do in the room where the tree is) because then they stop being ambience and become a distraction and a sensory annoyance.

5.  We don't care if we're different

Christmas has evolved into much more than a specific religious festival, and it means different things to different people.  For some, Christmas means a house full of screaming, delighted children gleefully killing each other with whatever plastic weaponry Santa brought them.  For others it's a barbecue on the beach.  Gallons of beer.  A nine-course degustation menu.  Camping.  Cricket.  Church.  Massive hot meals.  Travelling somewhere snowy.  There are as many ways to celebrate as their are people celebrating, and our low-key, Aspie-friendly shindig is just as valid, just as special, and just as "Christmassy", as another family's all-singing, all-dancing, flashing-lighted blowout.

Christmas is what you make it.  Make it whatever works for you.

This is the final Letters from Aspergia post for 2013.  Posting will resume with Monday Muster on January 13, 2014.  Thank you very much for reading and supporting the blog this year, and I hope the holiday season is everything you want it to be.