Today marks 15 days until Christmas, and for many autistic people (myself included) Christmas can be a very stressful time of the year. Christmas means lots of change to routines and being forced to be around people I don’t necessarily like spending time with. But by far the hardest thing for me is accepting surprise gifts. Over the years I’ve learnt how to make this slightly easier, so I thought I’d share some of the Christmas tips that make gift receiving much easier for me.
First off, I’m one of those people that hates surprises, I’ve got no idea how to react or say thank you for a gift I may not like. Something that makes this a lot more avoidable for me is writing a list. If you’re anything like I am, you’ll leave things to the last minute. That’s what I’ve done, I wrote a list and only sent it to my family the other day, however despite the fact I’ve left it late I know for a fact that they’ll stick to it. If you give everyone who is likely to get you a gift a list of things you’ll certainly like, it makes the surprise slightly easier to deal with because you roughly know what it will be inside of the paper.
Another thing I hate about Christmas is shopping. Shopping centres are sensory hell at the best of times, but at Christmas, they are even worse. An obvious way to avoid this is internet shopping. However, they may not come in time. My way to get past this and make sure they come on time is to use an Amazon prime trial and set a reminder to end it before the end of December! That’s what I’ve done this year and it’s saved me a lot of hassle! I ordered ALL of my gifts on a Friday and they were all here by Monday. The Amazon prime free trial has taken a lot of stress out of my Christmas planning for me. Thank you, Amazon!
The change in routine can be stressful too. Granted, it’s not nearly as bad as it was when I was at school when I was younger, but unfortunately, the changing due to the festive period doesn’t stop when you leave school. There are Christmas pub quizzes and Christmas jumper days, and in my head nothing is right. I’m sure lots of you will agree with me when I say that I cannot wait for January, just so my routine is back to normal and I can be fully calm again! How do I deal with this? I write it all down, yes it’s old fashioned I know, but I have a calendar in my room, which EVERYTHING for December is written down on.
My family find this slightly odd, as I don’t bother with it for the rest of the year, but December is the month that it saves my life! Writing down the changes and looking at them once a day before the day starts really helps me. Some people may find it easier to keep on their phones, or set reminders. These would be a great idea to prepare yourself for changes too. For younger children, a visual timetable may be easier, however to me, writing it down just feels more adult. I’m not sure why, that’s just how my mind works, and as you will probably know, sometimes my mind confuses me, but that’s okay.
I hope these tips have helped you! I hope it makes life at least a little bit easier for at least one person out there. Take things easy, and have a lovely time.
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