Christmas will soon be upon us. Every year I question it. It’s never been easy for me and I understand that part of those issues is down to being autistic. Christmas food isn’t for me. I don’t do wet food so eating dry overcooked Christmas meat isn’t something I do. It’s always overcooked because people cover it in gravy and don’t notice its overcooked. Trust me. It’s always overcooked. It doesn’t have to be. If you took a step back and considered what Christmas is or can be then it doesn’t have to be.
I have many issues due to being autistic. The food is complicated. Socialising with family is hard work. It’s rude to need a moment to yourself so you have to endure socialising. I’m not great with all that noise and information processing.
Questioning Christmas is something I’ve done a lot in recent years. Ever since I lost my parents I’ve been trying to figure out what exactly Christmas is. This year is particularly strange as I’ve already been to a Christmas party. It was 2 weeks ago. A pre-Thanksgiving Christmas party. Bonkers. Soon we’re going to visit the in-laws to have an early Christmas so we can free up actual Christmas because it saves on everyone travelling. So we’re having Christmas a week after Thanksgiving and 3 weeks before Christmas. So what is that? Late UK Thanksgiving?
It’s so strange. I assume we’re having all the Christmas stuff even though its not actually Christmas but it’s traditional so...? Is tradition simply “We’re doing it my way cos tradition.” A way to get your way without question. You can’t question tradition. It’s been passed down through the family line for generations.
So in recent years I’ve been trying to workout what Christmas is for me. So far this is what I want.
— No real world gifts unless you’ve made them. If you absolutely must get me something then make it virtual. It reduces waste. Bake something. I’m hoping to find time do so for “Christmas”. Ideally make something you enjoy just in case they can’t eat it ;) But ideally no gifts. The whole thing just causes me stress and anxiety. What do I want? Let me just run the numbers for a few weeks and research this thoroughly. What do you want? Let me just research all known information on your interests factoring in delivery times and budget to facilitate Christmas morning ease. Trying to do what I believe is “right” is problematic for me. It’s an autism thing and not a helpful one because I always get analysis paralysis and can’t decide what is “right” to buy someone. No gifts.
— Bin the entire thing. Bin Christmas totally. Replace it with “Friendsgiving”. If you’ve not heard of Friendsgiving it’s basically what Christmas should be. It’s what Thanksgiving technically is. We have the forking Black Friday nonsense from America so why not go all the way and import the holiday too? Friendsgiving is a time when friends get together for food and laughs. That’s it. Leave your phones in another room. Be free to be silly. Bring a dish. That’s what Christmas should be. The gift is you making the effort to make food and turn up. Moments with people you don’t see very often should be the most important part of Christmas but it gets lost. I learnt this from having a coffee with a mate I rarely see and it was a great time.
— Keep the lights. I like the idea of having a Winter Light Season rather than Christmas decorations. We have more hours of darkness so let’s make them pretty.
Think about this for a moment. In Japan their “traditional” Christmas meal is KFC.
I think in the end all I want is stress free fun with friends. I think its important to not be held back by tradition and to open yourself up to what Christmas can be. Look at what other people do. Find recipe ideas from other cultures. Take inspiration from other cultures. Who knows what you might find. For example, I found these Icelandic cookies while thinking about this newsletter. They’re called Sara Bernard and I really want to try them.
Blogvember ends today. I plan to not blog tomorrow, 1st Dec, and take a few days to figure out what it all meant. There’s some interesting data to look at and can I answer the question “Is blogging dead?” Probably not.
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I had hoped to write more on other subjects this week but I’ve had computer issues and that’s taken all of my focus. sigh If only we didn’t need them. Maybe I should hand write this in the future?