Cancelling Christmas - Guest Post

Guest Post: Mr Hammie Writes.

Thanks to last minute preparations for the Secret Project;  I have been flat out like a lizard drinking working on that, the Work Blog (yes I get paid to blog) and the website/facebook etc etc. 

So my other half has paused from his regular trolling, posting on and Facebook to step in and keep the blog fires burning. 

I haven't posted for H before despite being asked to on many occasions. When I texted her this photo on Sunday, she asked again and so here I go.

Firstly, sorry about the dismal title as it is somewhat at odds with the photo. This is Boo enjoying his coke and crab claws on the sushi train at Yo-Sushi Dundrum.

We had a lovely afternoon together, starting with a walk in the Glen of the Downs, then drove to HMV to buy a DVD and lunch at Yo. He likes to try new things as long as some constants accompany them. The constant here of course is his favourite beverage. He doesn't really get the train idea totally. If he sees something he likes, he feels it's okay to sample and leave the half empty plate on there while I stretch to retrieve it. But he's happy and relaxed and so am I.
I doubt anyone dining or passing would even suspect that we were anything other than a normal father and son having a Japanese lunch.
As he shops for his DVD in HMV he is so focused on what he's doing, he hardly notices anybody else to the point that he needs to be followed closely. Otherwise he will barge and bump people as he devours title, credits and information on the DVD sleeves. They see him reading the titles, etc and surely think that he is just badly behaved.
As long as the crowds are reasonably thin, it's all manageable and we have a lovely afternoon together.

It made me think of several posts I had read on facebook where parents of kids like Boo were dreading some outing or social event that was on their calender and the pressure that comes with such dread. From experience, I know that this dread often becomes something of a self fulfilling prophecy.
The dread becomes anxiety and then tension. Child picks up on it, behaves as expected, things break down, everyones head is wrecked.
So I can't stand up and say "hey, this is how we do it. We're the autistic Waltons.''
We've had as many bad days as anyone. But what I can say is that, so often these problems are not you
or childs fault at all. You have tried to bend and change to suit someone else's standards and conditions.
They have made no such allowance for you and your family.
The church is uncomfortable, people are mumbling solemnly, the pub has so many confusing smells and noises, I could go on.
Many of us remember Christmas Days where allowances were supposed to have been made but weren't.
We've had the looks of scorn because we tried to finish our dinner or glass of wine and things broke down.
Some even kick you while they're at it to get attention for themselves and their own kids. Sound familiar anyone?

So this year, I cancelled Christmas.

Boo and his Mum are off to about as far away as they could go. He understands Christmas and hopefully where he is going they will accommodate his understanding of same.
Bratty and I will do whatever, walk in the woods, go driving. Unlike previous years the dread and trepidation that came with Christmas is not there. There is no anger there.
Sadly this has not always been the case and I have by my own admission; shagged Christmas for everyone. Dealing with that I came to a sad resignation that Christmas is not for us this year.

It just isn't.

Mr Hammie.


K.Line said…
Great post Mr. H! I have been known to cancel Xmas in my own way - sometimes we just leave town (the 3 of us) and stay at a hotel and eat in restaurants. My mother thinks it's depressing but we have a great time. I think it's a ridiculously stressful time of year for all sorts of people. I'm pretty sensitive and frequently feel overwhelmed. Guests in my home bring up my own challenges rather quickly.
Petunia said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Our Sue said…
Great stuff Mr Hammie, we now do christmas at home and don't invite anyone, so asd kid can have nuggets with ketchup for dinner if he wants to.. love the expression autistic Waltons.. can't you see it.. "John Boy, put you pyjamas on, Jim Bob get back into bed, Jason pee goes in the toilet, Mary Ellen get out of the sleeping bag, NOT sleeping on the floor tonight!"
Petunia said…
Hey fantastic post Mr. H :) I have always wanted to cancel Christmas, long before Munchkin was diagnosed, and I gained the nickname The Grinch in our household as I find the whole "putting up the tree" and bankrupting yourself for the sake of one day ridiculous. I count down the days til I can put the tree away (discovered a few years back that I can drag it backwards up through the attic opening and not even bother to disassemble it hehe)

I wish you and Bratty a very happy "Walk in the Woods Day" this year :) Hope to see you post on here again xx

(had a spelling mistake and my inner aspie had to redo the post lol....)
Aruba said…
"They have made no such allowance for you and your family."

fantastic and so so true!! really enjoyed reading this
Anonymous said…
Well said Mr H.Home many times have we visited people and they think they are being well meaning to invite you but don't realise how stressful it can be.It means for us taking our own food bags of toys there kids wondering why ours doesn't want to play locking front doors i could go on and on,so fair play to you and enjoy the 25th of december which ever way you want to.Katy
Jean said…
t'riffic post Mr H. The bit when you spoke about 'self fulfilling prophecies' strikes a chord with me. I'm scared of taking Bob out as I'm afraid I'm not strong enough (physically...mentally I'm an Amazon..*cough*)to handle him if he decides he's going to opposite direction to evryone else. It's a vicious cycle, as I've lost my confidance to take him out without Bob's Dad, thereby preventing any new learning experiences.
I've gotta grow me a pair and take the kid out soon.
Love the post XXX
jazzygal said…
Hey Mr H! Great post....well done.

I hope yours and Brattys Chistmas day is JUST how you want it to be. Shag everyone elses perception of what Christmas day should be....THEY are not in your shoes.

I too hate Christmas day. Which is really sad because I always loved it. I love the build up. Hate buying presents but love when they're bought and wrapped, love the Tree, decorations, Midnight mass on Christmas Eve etc. It's the Day itself I find stressful. WiiBoy loves it and gets it so that parts ok. It's justtthe "who's having Christmas dinner where" crap that I HATE!

The best Christmas day we EVER had as a family was when it was just the 3 of us at home:))

Good luck to u and Bratty this year. And to hammie and Boo too of course! xx
Nick McGivney said…
Sounds like you might just have discovered the spirit of Christmas there. Even though I can't really stand Steve Martin, I love the way that Planes, Trains and Automobiles manages to capture the angst you talk about at this time of year. It's silly, but the herd makes us all silly. Forgetting the entire point, essentially. Sounds to me like you four might just have the most together Christmas ever. Let you be the first person I wish a happy, peaceful and joyous Christmas to! Now, about your next post...
The Spicers said…
Wonderful post! I wish I could cancel Christmas myself, but alas, not this year.
drwende said…
You are full of win!

Abstaining from stressful and unreasonable holiday expectations, in favor of what's comfortable and meaningful for you and your family, is advice most people would be wise to take. There are lots of "normal" children out there being forced to expectations they can't handle at Xmas because it fulfills someone's fantasies. Your day-to-day issues are tougher, but on this one, your wisdom is stronger, too.
So cool to actually hear from Mr. Hammie and not just hear about him. We canceled Christmas all through our IVF years. This will be our first Christmas in years. It'll be a challenge to get back in the habit.
Taz said…
Well done Mr H! I do love Christmas, and Button "gets" it to some extent, but it's taken me many years to discover that to have a truly "Happy Christmas" we need to do it our way! This year we'll be spending the day with my parents who, thankfully, are very understanding of Button and love him unconditionally. So he will no doubt be having chips and nuggets for dinner, and shunning his new toys in favour of something old and familiar. Hope all the Hammies have exactly the Christmas they would wish for
Tazzy xx
Elaine Caul said…
Excellent post Mr H. All the build up and hype leading up to the big day causes an unbelievable amount of stress. Hope everyone has a nice peaceful Christmas this year xx
Breda said…
fab post i don't think you should cancel xmas you have it all sown up just the way you like it sounds good to me enjoy.
Anonymous said…
Like Susan, I think your expression of autistic Waltons is fabulous.

It's such a challenging time for our children, getting excited about one day in the year is usually just a mass of overwhelming fear for them and the headaches are tremendous, for all concerned.

I also wanted to say thank you for your lovely comment on my blog today. Great to make your acquaintance.

CJ xx
Make Do Style said…
Lovely post. I wish I could cancel Christmas - it's sort of morphed into something ridiculous.

And what you said about tension and children is valid for all of us.

I don't take any notice of other kids/parents (all included) any more thanks to Hammie because it is not my concern and people should be left to just be. The most I ever do now is smile, nicely.

I would be helpful too if required. Enjoy the walk it sounds delightful.
I gave you a little award, Ms. Hammie. Come on over and claim it.
Stephanie said…
I just found you via Belette Rouge and am so glad I did!
I too wrote about the dichotomy of the holidays. It can be a tough time of the year and we all have the right to do it the way we want!
Great post.
Angie Muresan said…
Since I am new here, via La Belette Rouge, I don't know how often you write Mr. Hammie, but you sure do a wonderful job of it.
Thank you for all your comments.