What is your connection to autism?

I was diagnosed in October 2017, aged 22. It was a relief to know why I am the way I am and autism websites and magazines have helped me find some support on what to do next.

What is Christmas like at your house?

Christmas in my house has always been an exciting event. Me and my dad are big kids when it comes to Christmas, and we get really excited for our presents. Leading up to Christmas, we count down the days. With me, I start counting down from September. 

Past Christmases, my dad has had plans where he would wake up early, get dressed up and then wake the rest of the family with Christmas music. We always have a rule that we have breakfast first and before opening presents.

Christmas in my house has always been an exciting event.

When it comes to presents, it’s always been me and my brother opening our presents first and then my parents. Since having our cat Fluffy, she seems to get eager to see what she has got for Christmas so it’s her presents first at the same time as me and my brother. 

After that it’s just a relaxing day − my mum and dad cook the Christmas dinner together, while my brother and I are around the house. We just enjoy our time together, I sometimes sit with my mum watching Christmas movies, which I always do leading up to  Christmas too.

Do you have to make any changes to a ‘traditional’ Christmas? For example, do you have decorations, a tree, Christmas dinner, wrapping paper etc?

We always have decorations, a tree, Christmas dinner, we always wrap our presents in wrapping paper. I made a change last year by buying my own small pink Christmas tree with decorations and lights. I thought my room could use some Christmas decorations for the festive season.

How do you envision a perfect Christmas?

The perfect Christmas is spending my time with the people I love. Watching Christmas movies, eating a Christmas meal and opening presents together. It’s not all about presents, it’s being surrounded by people who love you just the way you are.

Do you have any Christmas tips for families affected by autism??

My tips would be just to enjoy yourself. Surround yourself with people you love and create lasting memories that you could put into a scrapbook. Christmas is a time for sharing and surrounding yourself with loved ones, make the day special in whatever way makes it special to you.

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