Christmas, Faith and Autism

Hello! I’m Natalie (Stuart’s wife) and I was hoping to share a little struggle I’m facing this Holiday Season. I would like to start off by saying that my intentions are not to debate. I simply want to share.

In our home I decorate for Christmas rather early. Typically by mid-November all the decorations are up and we are in full Holiday spirit. Cameron is getting a little older now and as such I allowed him to be more involved in some of the decorating that is more tedious and requires a gentle hand. Together we unwrapped all the beautiful ceramic figures and I explained the roll of each and we placed them in the Manger. I retold the story of the birth of Jesus and talked to him about the 3 wise men. He listened but did not seem very interested. I just don’t think he can grasp faith the same way that Tyler can. To Cameron this is merely a story.

In my family, the responsibility of placing the Manger and re-creating the scene is one of great importance. It’s one that I hope to pass down to Cameron when he’s ready. So far, no luck. That’s not to say that I won’t continue to show him each year and talk to him about it, I just don’t want him to feel pressured about it. But the truth is I desperately want this to be as important to him as it is to me. I want our traditions to go on for generations to come and I guess only time will tell.

When we decorated the tree Cameron insisted that a star must be placed on top. He has seen them on TV and a tree always has a star on top. I’m not opposed to a star really, we’re just an Angel topper kind of family. So up the angel went without Cameron’s consent.

The next day I was shopping and saw a beautiful gold star tree topper. I held it, placed it in my cart and walked away. A few aisles down I turned back and placed the star back on it’s shelf. I’m still struggling with this one. As an autistic, Cameron decides what a Holiday should be and then cannot sway from it (well not easily anyway). So why am I being the one to stick so firmly to what I believe Christmas should be? Why does it have to be my way?  Is it wrong that I want my family to be surrounded by the faith and traditions I grew up with?

Stuart is very flexible, he and I do not share the same religious views but he is more than willing to allow me to share my faith and traditions with our children. So when I asked him about this he did not really have an answer for me. Truthfully nobody will. I have to make these decisions. I guess in the end all I want is for my family to be together, safe and happy at Christmas. Since Cameron is trying to learn about the manger, maybe I can sway and get a star for the tree. Who knew all we needed was a little compromise?

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Stuart Duncan
I am the father of 2 great boys, Cameron (Autistic) and Tyler, his younger brother. Founder of Autcraft.
Stuart Duncan

Stuart Duncan

I am the father of 2 great boys, Cameron (Autistic) and Tyler, his younger brother. Founder of Autcraft.

0 thoughts on “Christmas, Faith and Autism

  • December 27, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    when i was a tiny child, i imagined that the star atop the tree was the fabled bethlehem celestial happening; this is because we used to place the nativity scene under the tree.  to me, the tree was the shining light of the bethlehem star.

    (am i wrong for wanting….?) that’s a good question: i think no, they’re your boys after all. 


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