Christmas in this Aspie household is something I both love and dread. At one end of the scales the youngest boy is overjoyed and desperate for the decorations to go up and Christmas to come. While the eldest boy doesn’t want anything to do with it until Christmas Eve – he can’t handle the anticipation, and with his birthday only a few days later it’s just way too stressful.
Me, I really enjoy decorating the house for Christmas and even having people over, although I’m always relieved when they leave. Not so big on the travelling to go to other people’s places but that’s because three Aspie boys in the back seat together is always a recipe for disaster. Sometimes we haven’t even got out of the driveway before it starts, so a two and a half hour drive is something I don’t like to do with the whole family. One day, when we have some more money (I can dream can’t I?) we’d like to buy something like a Kia Carnival – we hired one for a weekend away once and didn’t want to give it back!
Last year we decided to have Christmas Day as just our family, so caught up with the other families before Christmas. Spreading it out worked really well for our family, so we decided to do it again. It’s more work and goes for longer (14th Dec – 4th Jan including 13th birthday), but it made the Christmas period far less stressful.
My parents and an Aunt did the 3½ hour trek to our place. Sibs don’t come coz my sister is a retail manager and it’s crazy just before Christmas. Whhile my little bro, doesn’t really have a lot of the Christmas spirit…but that’s okay, it makes for a peaceful Christmas. No arguements I don’t do the traditional roast and plum pudding it’s too hot and not my thing. Still working out what my thing is, but it ain’t that! We had crisps & my homemade dips, cheese & crackers, cold meats, salads, mum’s eggnogg with organic free range eggs from our chooks, a fruit platter and my Grandma’s Fluffy Stuff for dessert. I think it’s proper name is flummery, but as kids we always called it ‘fluffy stuff’ and fluffy stuff forever it will be..
Two days before Christmas we did the 2½ hour drive to my SIL’s place – it was going to be in a park about an hour and a half away, but Aspie kids couldn’t handle the idea of Christmas anywhere but in a house and with the sensory issues we quickly came to realise that it would be a complete disaster. Flies, heat, bright, wind, uncomfortable seats…boys were melting down just at the thought of it. So we changed it, which turned out to be a good thing weather wise as it was cold and rainy! It was an interesting drive, boys tried really hard to hold it together but by halfway it was all falling apart. On the way home Tim sat in the back while the eldest sat in the front and that worked better, especially with the youngest falling asleep.
In hindsight we realised that the 23rd was too close to Christmas, especially as the next day was Christmas Eve and we had things planned for that. Next Chrissy we’ll arrange better dates.
On Christmas Eve the boys opened their presents to each other. Buying them was drama in itself – I took each boy out seperately and with my help they selected prezzies for other members of the family. The younger two did all right at this with only a few small meltdowns, but the eldest melted down at the very thought of it. It was a combination of things – lots of people, noise and the stress of having to choose something for someone and they may not like it! So in the end I shopped on his behalf.
After the unwrapping of gifts we went into town and had pizza in the park from our favourite pizza shop and then drove around town to check out the Christmas lights. It was disappointing, not many people bothered. Oh well, we’ll just have to get our act together and set up our own amazing decorations next Christmas 🙂
Christmas Day dawned and the boys slept in til 8am – nice. We opened pressies together and then everyone went off to their own space and did their own thing. We nibbled throughout the day and did the same thing on Boxing Day and the next. Obviously we all needed time to recover. And then the birthday preparations began!