Tom Hewitt headshot photo alongside Christmas quote graphic

 

Content creator, journalist, and all-round nice guy, Thomas Hewitt, shares with us what Christmas is like and what challenges he faces during the festive season.

What is Christmas like at your house?

It’s great! We always end up having a wonderful time over the festive period. I’m really lucky and fortunate to have a close knit family who understand my condition and accept me for who I am. Of course Christmas is a different experience as you get older, but it’s always good and enjoyable to spend time with my family and celebrate the holidays together.

Do you have to make changes to a ‘traditional’ Christmas?

I wouldn’t say we as a family tend to make a lot, if any, big changes to a traditional Christmas setting. We don’t really go overboard with the occasion, and we stick to the essentials, such as a tree, decorations, Christmas dinner etc. I feel it’s not always about the decorations, the dinner, presents, that makes Christmas so special. Of course they play a major part of what makes Christmas more unique than other public holidays, but I believe it’s about the people you choose to spend the festive season with. That’s what I think makes Christmas a more enjoyable experience.

How do challenges you may face over Christmas make you and your family feel?

Well I’m somebody who doesn’t shy away from a challenge, and since I got my diagnosis nine years ago, I’ve learned to embrace my Asperger’s in all parts of my life. When it comes to taking on challenges, Christmas is no different, and I try to view it as an occasion where I can relax, be myself and know I am in my comfort zone surrounded by the people I love and care about. Back in the day though, I would’ve shied away from any sort of challenging situation at Christmas, because I didn’t know what made me tick and how I could use strategies to help relieve my anxieties. Now though, as a young adult, I’m able to use that nervous feeling and push myself to overcome these emotions in order to enjoy my life in general, and not just at Christmas. Life is always going to throw curb balls at you, so I find accepting and not shying away from any challenges will help improve my confidence and overall self-esteem.

How do you envision a perfect Christmas?

I’m sure most people will agree that Christmas is not the same as you grow older. It’s more for children, so it’ll be nice to see my younger nephews enjoying their Christmas! For me, an ideal Christmas would be spent with my family whilst enjoying a homemade Christmas dinner with a few alcoholic beverages. The simple pleasures in life!

Have you been supported by the National Autistic Society?

The National Autistic Society are always really helpful and supportive of me, especially on their social media channels. I always find their stories of others on the spectrum really beneficial and informative, so long may they continue! On a personal note, I’d like to thank the National Autistic Society for their astounding efforts during their Autism Hour campaign and the information they shared throughout the movement, because I know first-hand from my own past experiences how difficult it can be when dealing with sensory overloads. The information, as well as the personal accounts of others on the spectrum who have or were going through similar situations, that were shared on the National Autistic Society’s social media channels was really advantageous to me, so thank you.

There is a song, “the most wonderful time of the year”. What would you say Christmas is to you?

Christmas is the busiest time of the year...

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