12.02.2012

Autism and the Christmas spirit

The holiday season is upon us. It's hard to say how I feel about that really. On the one hand I enjoy the feel-good, warm fuzzy "holiday themed" idea of Christmas, with its cheesy but uplifting movies, red and white candy canes, fake-snow frosted pinecones and ceramic snowmen. I like how we bring a live fragrant pine tree (or Douglas fir, I'm not quite sure) into the house and how my older kids adorn it with their school and scout-made decorations... And some box-store baubles too, of course. I like the idea of crafty homemade jars of gifts and add them dutifully to my Pinterest board, but never seem to get around to actually making any. Maybe this year...

There are things that I don't like too. I don't like the mad dash shopping frenzy that seems to affect so many people. I don't like how stores put "great gift idea" on almost everything just to get people to buy it. I don't like that people feel they have to spend more money than they actually can, to keep up with some predetermined standard of a perfect Christmas. And I mostly don't like how all the Christmas marketing turns perfectly good children into greedy little monsters, coveting poorly-made trendy toys which they don't even really want and that will just end up in the pile of other stuff which they don't care about anymore. I'm actually quite pleased that my children are not acting this way at all - this year (they have had seasons of the mad gimme's, I won't lie). They will get presents of course. But I'm hoping they will be simpler, more creative things that they will actually use for a long time and not just things plucked from tv commercials. You can see my ongoing Christmas gift board here.

Is it me, or is there something behind me?

Thinking about this made me realize that Sophie will never be a part of that less desirable element of childhood. She is completely non-greedy and non-materialistic. Her wants are little more than basic survival needs - food, water, shelter, love, Thomas... (I bet you didn't realize that Thomas the tank engine is one of the basic human needs, did you?). She doesn't get attached to objects and doesn't mind if someone takes something from her. And I have a feeling that maybe, just maybe the reason her older siblings are not running around with toy catalogues and writing manuscript-length letters to Santa is because of her example. They see that she needs and indeed wants so little and perhaps they are a little inspired. I know that I am.


So how will Sophie react to Christmas this year? We put up the tree yesterday and other than being slightly annoyed by the change in her corner of the living room, she seemed oblivious to it. Regardless of what reaction she will give (if any), I will do my best to approach life like Sophie this Christmas season. I will be perfectly content and happy because I'm in a warm and dry home, have yummy food to eat and am surrounded by the people I love and that love me in return. And if Thomas needs to be in the background, so be it.

 

 

2 comments:

  1. What a great post! It's one of the amazing things about kids like Sophie and Janey---the complete lack of desire for material goods. Janey loves Christmas for one reason only---Christmas music. It made me laugh how Sophie was oblivious to the tree---that is how Janey always is, as if she's thinking "if I just ignore this odd addition to the house, maybe it will go away" I'm a little jealous of her Thomas addition! My older son William was a HUGE Thomas fan, and I have a little affection left over for Thomas, Percy, Henry and all the gang.

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    1. We are all fond of Thomas here too, because of the pure love and joy it seems to trigger in Sophie. Her face lights up when she is watching it.
      I do think the lack of desire for material goods is pretty amazing. It is the lessons we learn from our girls everyday. They are really living a life of simplicity. It's something I think about often- how it is so hard for us to not give in to our impulses to buy things, to simplify our life from clutter. And how they just live it.

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