This year, it feels like there has been less arguing about when is the right time to do festive things. Perhaps it is because we all need cheering up or because we have run out of anything else to do but the decorations are everywhere. I was surprised to learn that a Christmas tree farm near me had sold more than 50% of its stock by mid-November meaning that a lot of people will have dead trees by the time their bubbles come to visit.
I like the run up to Christmas. I will happily listen to festive songs all year round (although there are only about ten good ones), the lights cut through the long dark days and I also have a thing for the seasonal sandwiches they sell in supermarkets. However, by about 18th December as normal routines are getting more disrupted, I have usually had enough and am ready for things to go back to normal. This year with the various restrictions, we are getting all the nice seasonal elements (music, films, food) but with far less of the stuff I hate (parties, family visits, the expectations of others). Shame it took a pandemic to achieve it.
In recent years, I have had to battle to get out of going to parties and large events, which is odd as I organise them for a living. I find when I am running them, everything is under my terms so easy to control but other people’s occasions don’t interest me at all. I recently heard an interview with the autistic TV presenter Chris Packham on this subject. One of the things he mentioned is that he told his partner ‘No I don’t want to go to that wedding because I don’t care about any of those people and never will, so don’t drag me there, you go’. That really sums it up for me too.
Being diagnosed late, I feel I lack a lot of autism education that others have. I wonder what of my character traits can be put down to being autistic and what is just me behaving badly. What can I change and what do I need to live with?
Earlier in the interview Chris Packham also said ‘one of the problems is, that when a lot of people talk, it’s obvious what they are going to say before they say it and therefore I can’t be bothered to wait for them to say it so I will just interrupt them’. This rang true for me too, I realised that I do that too and this is something that I will start to work on.
By learning more about autism and about me, perhaps I could make Christmas become more bearable for myself and for other people in future years. Will it ever be ‘The Most Wonderful Time of the Year’? That seems unlikely.