When I first saw that the topic for Special Saturday this week was Christmas Traditions, more specifically Christmas traditions which have developed because of your child with additional needs, I didn't think I would have much to contribute.
Oh we have plenty of traditions all right, but most of them revolve around baking with the kids, and it's really just because I like baking with the kids.
But then I got to thinking, there are a lot of things we have learned to do to make Christmas bearable for Bear.
I think our most important "tradition" is to do away with tradition!
We decorate the tree and put up lights and all that kind of thing...we do have other children, and Bear does get excited about those things but all the other stuff...not so much.
We don't go out much because Bear doesn't cope too well with that and we also have to be really careful about what treats we give him.
As I've said before, routine is a very important part of Bears life, it gets him through his day...but he's no fool, if he really likes something, you only have to do it once and he will decide it should be in the routine! And woe betide anyone who tries to take it out!
Another thing we do is to stay home for Christmas...AS OFTEN AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE!!!
Now that is not always possible! We do have extended family. In fact we have lots of extended family, and we love them all. But for the most part they just don't get it and would take offense if we just decided to hide in our own little hidey hole EVERY Christmas!
Something else we do (and it actually took me quite a long time to convince myself to do this) is to NOT buy Bear many Christmas presents. He just doesn't cope with lots of Christmas presents!
Actually if I'm truthful we do buy him as many as we buy the other kids but anything like clothes or beach towels that are not going to be that exciting to unwrap, we just give to him in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and we don't make a song and dance about it...just put them in his cupboard or on the shelf.
His stocking is fairly empty :( I get rid of all the clutter...no underpants no tooth brushes or 2 buck shop crap...just a couple of things that we think he will get excited about....And the first year we actually bit the bullet and did that was the first year he actually didn't freak out at the mere suggestion that he open his stocking.
There are more...probably many many more and I know I will remember them as they come up but at this point I couldn't recite them all because we do them every year without thinking.
I'm not even sure that any of them even qualify as traditions, but doing away with tradition is about as traditional as we get!