Photo of a bride on Santa's knee, next to Christmas trees

Meet Victorial Ellen, an autistic self advocate and a big fan of the festive season. When Victoria got married, she decided to have a December wedding, celebrating her love for Christmas. She also had a photo taken with Santa himself to mark the occasion!

With the big day less that a month away, Victoria writes about all things Christmas - the highlights, the lowlights and the fairy lights! - and the sensory and social challenges she faces during this time.

I absolutely love Christmas. People often presume I'm like the Grinch, because I prefer to be alone most times and find social interaction difficult, but I absolutely adore the Christmas time and I'm a very festive spirited person. I love spending time with my family around Christmas. It's one time where we all come together, and I feel completely supported.

Christmas can be extremely overwhelming, because there's so much to do and not a lot of time. Of course you can prepare for Christmas, but often things are spontaneous and last minute, which can cause some stress - like when family just turn up unexpectedly, or we have to do last minute shopping.

One thing I love about the festive season is the decorations. I love fairy lights and often have them up at home. I love decorating my tree and being with my family. They understand that sometimes I do need time for myself to recharge.

One thing I do find difficult is going out during this time, mostly because of the crowds. I attend my local Christmas markets, but often become overwhelmed, and people aren't really understanding and stare when I become stressed. It's so busy and often I have to leave just to feel like I have my own space. I do take stim toys with me but often people stare at me and that makes me anxious. Christmas events are never "autism friendly" or "inclusive" and I always feel on the edge, like I'm never allowed to enjoy myself or join in because I'm worried it'll be too much, and that's something I can't control.

There's also food. I'm so picky with what I'll eat that I'm often left to the last minute, and most often choose pasta for my Christmas dinner. That's that's often not understood, and I'm tired of having to explain that I don't like the taste of turkey or the texture of the vegetables.

There's so much to contend with at Christmas, and I do love it, but it is exhausting!

You can keep up with Victoria latest projects and adventures by following on her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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