I love my family. We're a great big mess of extended people with all sorts of strange traditions. For a long time, it didn't matter that I didn't have great friends at school because I always had cousins and sisters that I could talk to and be weird with and not be lonely. And now that we've all moved out to college and don't live within 2 hours of each other, Christmas is often the only time that we can actually all be together at once.
But holidays are still loud and crowded and not always sensory-friendly. But they also have some other great things going for them.
I love holiday traditions and our family has buckets of holiday traditions. The same foods every year, the same seating, the same place. We have the same time frames for everything.
And admittedly, sometimes they got a bit people-busy. There are always a few random relatives and you always have to hug them. (But luckily a lot of them were from different countries where they air-kiss you on the cheeks instead, which is much less space-invasive if you have to interact with strangers/people who have maybe met you when you were a small child but aren't positive because there were a lot of us and babies are all pretty similar.) And remember their names. And remember their faces (now that's the tricky part). And it can get loud.
But there was also always so many food options that I didn't have to eat the ones I didn't want. (And then a couple hours later, there was an entire table of desserts!) There were people to talk to and play with that didn't require much difficulty. With cousins you didn't really have to worry about social rules. You could be as delightfully weird as you wanted and spend the whole night talking only in quotes and not be alone. Because they would be quoting right along.
And also there were always rooms or places outside that were quiet. You could sit and read (and there always new books to read at Christmas) or just sit somewhere alone if you needed to*. You could go away from the main crowd to have small conversations if large conversations were too big.
And even the conversations... Very very very little small talk. We talked about new laws and current events and discussions on the death penalty. They were all conversations about SOMETHING. Something logical.
(Or sometimes they were stories, but they were all interesting stories about my grandparents' lives (they are very interesting people). And I love stories.)
(Or horses. We talk about horses a lot. I am good at talking about horses. So are several of our other cousins. Sometimes we would just name horse breeds at each other. Although, now we tend towards quoting LOTR at each other instead.)
And this is why I love my family and I love holidays so much.
So have a wonderful holiday season, everyone! (and all and any holidays, or if you don't celebrate any in particular, I hope you are just having a generally lovely day.) (I hope you are happy and enjoying yourself wherever you are, whoever you are with (or enjoying the nice quietness of being by yourself), and eating delicious food.)
*and it really is perfectly normal. Like I said my family definitely has autistic tendencies so it actually took me a while to realize that taking a break somewhere delightfully quiet is not something that is acceptable in general society... For years and years I probably had read at least one book during any party I went to and didn't understand why people thought it was unusual that I brought a book with me. (It was for when I took my break!)
Labels: echolalia, fitting in, horses, me, my family, routine, special interest, talking, tradition