Will + Autism = Christimas with a Twist

by debi9kids on December 12, 2011

For most little kids that are 5 years old Christmas is a time of excitement.
It’s a time for Santa Claus, and candy canes, and Christmas lights, and carol singers…
a time for writing letters, baking cookies, wishing for snow, wrapping presents and watching the night sky for Rudolph’s nose.

The excitement is so huge it’s barely contained…
unless it’s Will I’m talking about…
Then, Christmas is like every other day.
He honestly couldn’t care less about Christmas, nor does he have any idea just how many days are left until Santa arrives.
And, in theory, that could be a “bonus”, as he is my one child who doesn’t hand me a list filled with items I can’t afford.
He’s my one child not expecting me to make dozens of cookies, build a gingerbread house, hide the shelf elf every single night, or anticipating a Christmas eve filled with traditions and a Christmas day celebrating with family.

Yes, it would seem ideal.
But, it’s not.
It’s sad {for me. not him}.

I want Will to be excited.
I want him to wake up Christmas morning excited to see if Santa brought the toys he wanted instead of…

Instead, Will wakes up, usually late, after the kids have opened most of their presents and he goes straight for the paper,
or the ribbons,
or the cookies,
And never notices his pile of presents or his stocking,
or any of the toys the kids have opened.

He never opens his presents himself,
we do.
And honestly, most of the time, he could care less about what’s inside.

Will is 5,
but developmentally he is 9-15 months old and Christmas is to him what Christmas is to a small toddler…
another day filled with lots of papers and boxes he can rip apart, roll around on, put in his mouth or eat.

So, this year, for the first time we aren’t trying to get Will to see Christmas our way.
Instead, we are seeing it his and instead of buying him “traditional” presents, we are putting the focus solely on Will’s desires and I think for the first time, when he wakes up Christmas morning he will be delighted.
Or, it’s my hope anyway…
Christmas should be a time filled with happiness for everyone in the family, including little boys with autism.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Kimberlee Walker December 12, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Just curious about what you are doing to make christmas ideal for him. My best friend will be dealing with this soon, her son with autism is 1 1/2 years old right mow.


debi9kids December 12, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Hi Kimberlee. I didn't want to put it in my post because some of my kids read my blog 😉 (and one of them still believes…)
But, we bought him a lot of "sensory" items instead of getting him traditional toys. I bought a big, fuzzy animal carpet, some of his favorite foods, apps for his iPad, pillows stuffed with lots of neat textures…
One of my blog friends has been building a room called Snoezelen for her daughter. It's a traditional sensory integration room, but in a home environment, and it gave me LOTS of neat ideas, things I wanted to do but didn't think i could afford. Turns out, it costs about the same as the amount of $$$ I throw down for toys he doesn't play with ever . KWIM?


Sharalyn December 12, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Awesome! That's a great idea (and one we did with Alexander too). I swear the $25 mini-trampoline was the bestest Christmas present we ever bought him (that and the hammock swing).


debi9kids December 13, 2011 at 3:11 am

Yep. That hammock swing was ideal. Unfortunately, living in my parent's home, it isn't possible and Will misses it. A lot.
So, I did buy him an IKEA pod chair that spins for this year.


Sharalyn December 13, 2011 at 6:14 am

Good thinking!

Kimberlee Walker December 12, 2011 at 6:25 pm



Adventures In Babywe December 12, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Oh, I hope it's the best.



jubilee December 12, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Best wishes for a great Christmas for everyone in your family!


Suki December 13, 2011 at 12:29 am

So hoping your little boy will indeed be delighted.


Holly December 13, 2011 at 3:57 am

Sounds wonderful. You are a thoughtful and loving mom. I never ask my kids what they want for christmas. I always get them things that I think that they will like. My Christmas will be a little quieter and and a little emptier this year. I will be thinking of you and your family. Have a wonderful, merry, happy, bleessed Christmas!


Elizabeth Stein December 13, 2011 at 4:29 am

Meeting him where he's at sounds to me like the makings of a beautiful holiday for Will!

A blessed Christmas to you, him and your whole family.


CJ December 13, 2011 at 7:01 am

Oh, how I can relate. MeMa is seven this year. Her excitement for anything is always just on the surface and VERY quickly forgotten. Nothing MATTERS to her. I think that's what gets me the most. I can buy her every child's desire and it doesn't MATTER any more than the napkin next to her plate. It's sad. It's hard. I feel you!


debi9kids December 13, 2011 at 7:20 am

it's rough, that's for sure, and kind-of breaks my heart a little 🙁
I did find lots of things I know he's going to love (really good sensory items that are more textile, not some much "toy") but I can't say that he's going to be over the moon like his sister will be when she sees her silly Lalaloopsy toys. (I know you know what I mean. sadly)


Heather December 13, 2011 at 7:06 am

I'm so glad you are finding a way to make it delightful for him! And that Emma looks SUPER EXCITED. Only 11 days left!


debi9kids December 13, 2011 at 7:21 am

sheesh. don't remind me. I have SO much still to do. ack!


Elaine December 13, 2011 at 10:19 am

I'm sure he'll have a wonderful Christmas. The countdown has begun over here too… 🙂


Galit Breen December 13, 2011 at 10:40 am

Oh my heart, you are a good Mama- you know that right?


debi9kids December 13, 2011 at 11:44 am

thanks. some days I feel it. others, not so much (and I'm sure my teenagers would agree 😉 )


Amber December 13, 2011 at 11:54 am

That sounds beautiful. Giving your little boy exactly what he needs to be happy has to be the best gift of all.


Barbara Manatee December 13, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Great idea Debi! I bet he'll be excited to see things that you know he'll love. 🙂 I hope it makes the day even more special!


Nicole DeZarn December 13, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Oh, dear one, Merry Christmas to all of you. I feel you, I do. We have 4 children, 3 have special needs. Everything about the holidays is more difficult. I have one little girl who really loves only a few things. She gets new versions of those things every year and is delighted but how many toy kitchens and pieces of play food can we get in our house? Still, all of my kiddos are magic and you are a beautiful mama for embracing Christmas at Will's level!!!


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