Why I Have A Fake Tree

I think you can clearly see that the tree I have is not a “real” Christmas tree. I mean, you need flocking or snow to put white on a real one, right? It’s not a big thing as to what a person puts in their house around this time of year. Unfortunately, some people make it a big thing. There is apparently a feud I am not aware of going on.

First, in order to understand the feud, we have to define “real.” I mean, my tree exists in the dimensions of time and space. That’s not a hologram blocking my patio door.

But apparently, for a tree to be “real,” some insist that it has to have been growing in the ground at some point. I guess that’s fair.

Now, why is there a feud in this? There’s usually a good reason a person has either a real tree or a fake tree.

Honestly, I would prefer a real tree….

…but I’m allergic to real ones. I break out in hives while putting on the ornaments. It’s been that way since childhood.

Now that you know why I have this particular tree, why don’t we look at the reasons people are feuding, and why none of them really hold water in the sense of a feud.

The first one is, environmentalism. Apparently, having the tree I have is an environmental hazard, unless you keep it for some years. If you look back on Christmas decorations past, you will see that I have had this tree through what is now three decorating phases. I have had this tree since I decorated Christmas in purple, decorated Christmas in gold and silver, and decorated Christmas now in red, gold and silver. It’s been at least five years. Having a tree you can keep instead of throw away is very nice, as far as I am concerned.

Another one is the smell of pine needles and such. Unfortunately, some people are also allergic to this, including my mother. We don’t even change our air freshener scent for the season – where we have an air freshener.

There are more reasons, and I’m sure you can look these up.

However, I am not going to insist I feud with other people about Christmas trees. There are bigger things to be offended by. Poverty and racism, for example.

Usually, there is a really good reason behind a person’s choices. I have stated mine.

The best question, when you don’t understand the choice a person makes is this:

Why?

Christmas Decorations 2019

Now, I promised relatives I would post pictures of my decorations online. This year, we reintroduced red into our color scheme.

Christmas Tree 2019
Coffee Table 2019
Our Nativity
Our Christmas Table 2019
The First Ornament, 2019 Edition
And Here’s the Inspiration!

There is a lot of love in our scheme this year. Enjoy!

What to Avoid when Looking for a Place of Worship

Content: Religious Talk, talk of cruelty and miracle cures, suicide, ableism

Now, I know that many of us autistic people are atheist. This is not for them, unless there is a place where atheists gather. I don’t know if there is.  For those of religious affiliation, sadly, the places of worship are filled with pitfalls of “autism awareness” and hatred. Miracle cures, ABA, prayer, the belief of autism meaning brokenness…this is by no means an exhaustive list of things to avoid concerning autism and worship.

If you sense a skew towards Christianity, please consider the fact that I am writing from personal experience. As we approach Easter, I am reminded that we need a ways to go in the church.

  1. Avoid places peddling “miracle cures.” – The church known as Genesis II still peddles that MMS stuff – basically drinking bleach for the unknowing. (Isn’t drinking bleach a form of suicide?) Do I really need to state that facing death is a risk of drinking bleach or shoving it up a child’s rear end?
  2. Avoid places who believe autism is a moral failing. – There is an ancient belief that any known health problems is a punishment from the Almighty. This is often a fallacy promoted by what is known as the Prosperity Gospel. “If you believed, your child would not be autistic.” Well, that is definitely not a tenet of Christianity, which is my belief system. Jesus did state in the Bible that “In this world, you WILL have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” I am focusing on the first statement for now, because I believe it to be true. No amount of belief is going to change the fact that you will have trouble.
  3. Avoid the anti-vaccine place of worship. – This goes without saying. If you can prevent the spread of anything with a shot, go right ahead. It is God’s way.
  4. Avoid the Hypocrite. – In the church, we call them Pharisees. Simply put, they look good in the pew, but there is little evidence of following their faith outside their place of worship. Pharisees were even called “whitewashed tombs,” meaning they look good on the outside, but inside they are full of death. Unfortunately, you may not be able to avoid them in any church.
  5. Avoid the Graceless. – There is a parable in Christianity in which a man was forgiven a large debt, though did not forgive another man a debt against him. In short, the larger forgiveness was canceled. Do I even need to explain the pain of holding a grudge?
  6. Avoid those who will not accept you. – This is what I dislike about the Church of Scientology. In the case of John Travolta is literally took a judge asking him under oath for him to admit his son Jett was autistic. And by then, Jett had died. What kind of church is so cruel that it rejects autism’s existence? You may need to educate on Autism Acceptance to the place of worship, but if they accept the teaching of Autism Acceptance, stay. Do I even need to explain the pain of rejecting people with real problems? The church is a hospital for sinners, not an elite club for saints.

In short, a church that only accepts the perfect and those without problems is empty. If they will not accept you, shake the dust off your feet and go find another one.

Christmas Report: A Merry Little Christmas

Well, it’s after ten at night on Christmas Day. My mother and I had a very relaxing Christmas. We did not go anywhere on Christmas Eve because the brakes in our car are shot. (It will cost roughly $300.) Other than that, we had ourselves a Merry Little Christmas, with no stress.  

I slightly overcooked the prime rib. I held it for too long in the oven. Perhaps it was too long. But the meat was not that dry, though. We just like it medium done around here. It was medium well. That seemed to be the only problem. 

Anyway, the big day was actually kind of relaxing. We got up around eight, opened small gifts from our family, had Eggs Benedict with hash browns, and mostly relaxed. Christmas Dinner was simple enough: Prime rib, rolls and steamed vegetables with bearnaise sauce and au jus. Aside from medium well prime rib, the dinner turned out well.  

As for presents, the sweets we got from my brother were nice. It was a good variety in two sets of beautiful boxes. I also got sea-colored earrings from my aunt Joan – they are beautiful.  

After the dinner, I cleaned up dishes and relaxed the rest of the day. It was pretty nice.  

I would like to give a shout out to all autistic people who have had to hide their true selves around family that refuses to understand. A shout out to autistic people who avoid their stubborn family altogether, too. Shout out to autistic people who deal with unnerving questions. Shout out to people dealing with infertility.

Christmas Prep Part 3: Take Care of Yourself

Some people say I preach to the choir. I say even the choir needs some guidance every once in a while. But truthfully, I am often preaching to myself. The issue at hand? The hectic schedules of Christmas many of us come across. Think about it. In Christian tradition, December is one of the busiest months of the year, if not the very busiest.  

You have parties, caroling, lights, sounds from nowhere, smells, cooking, church services, church potlucks, card send outs, family get-togethers…think about it. It is quite easy to get swept up in the hubbub – and forget to take care of yourself. The meds are a small thing, yet they help keep you stable and able to somewhat enjoy the season. Anyway, self-care is even more essential than ever in this time. I hate to bring it up, but there’s a reason airplane people tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping anyone else. How can you help someone if you can’t breathe? Take care of yourself. If you need a break, take a break.  

If you don’t celebrate Christmas in this hectic manner, feel free to apply this advice to the month(s) you are busiest. It’s all good advice, applicable to busy times.

Christmas Prep, Part 2: Regular Shopping, Plus Christmas Shopping


With the Annual Thanksgiving Throw Out done, my mother declared that we would get smaller stuff next year. Honestly, those “tiny turkeys” the Millennials are so fond of looked very good. I’m going to try getting one of those next year. I think I might look at those “crazy Millennials” again, not that I’m that critical of them in the first place, and see what I can learn.  

But anyway, live and learn…. 

I’m writing this the day before we pay bills and go December shopping. It’s not like we have any more special funds than any other month of the year, so we kind of skimp and see if we can get gifts early. (It’s also hard to hide gifts from a person who usually shops with you, so we just get them early. No wrapping.) Honestly, I don’t like to waste a lot of wrapping paper. If I could wrap my gifts in reusable, giftable bags we could use over and over, I would be happy. I’ve recycled and kept gift bags from Christmas before.  

We just shop for the month, and maybe some Christmas Dinner if we can. Our Christmas Dinner is a little different from the norm. We tend to like having Prime Rib and Yorkshire Pudding, plus other dishes we like. (It’s still up in the air at this point what we’re having with it. Steamed vegetables? Salad? Potatoes? Rice Pilaf? We iron out the kinks as the month goes by.) Even Bear gets in on the Holidays.  

I know it seems I’m being flippant about autistic people’s challenges, but I’m not. I’m in charge of most holiday cheer at my house, so I can ease into the season, since we’ve got almost an entire month left. There are challenges through the month. For example, did I mention there is a giant Christmas tree blocking the patio door and only window in our living room? We had no other place to put it. Also, I deal with some sensory issues as I come up. Fortunately, there is some progress on the cinnamon broom front. (Those burn my nose, by the way.) It seems the brooms now come wrapped in plastic. Some people might see this as excessive, but I do not.  

Christmas disruption is at a minimum this year, and I think that helps when dealing with it.

(A little note: I don’t want to be in a echo chamber. I would like to hear from other holiday traditions. I know that Hanukkah starts tonight at sunset, for example. Anybody out there Jewish and autistic? I’d like to hear from you, too.) 

Christmas Holiday Prep Part 1: The Decorations


Strangely, there is a lot of stress at the beginning of our family Christmas holidays, and at the end. My first stress is simply this: putting up decorations. The decorations, I’m sorry, are very disruptive in my house.  

Here is what I do:

  1. I put a tree in every room. I move our television to another table to make room for the main nativity.
  2. I decorate the table and chandelier above it, as well as the walls.
  3. I take down the fall towels in the bathroom and put up the Christmas towels.
  4. I clear off my dresser and put a bunch of stuff in different places for its little nativity set.
  5. And for the cherry on top, I put a giant Christmas tree right in front of the patio door, blocking my only view of the outside I consider safe to see out of. (There is a giant bush blocking the view outside my bedroom window, by the way.) Besides, the tree has nowhere else to go.  

Anyway, Christmas usually has the most decorations in my house. I am still decorating the main tree at this point, tweaking and filling bare spots and such.  

Strangely enough, the decorating gives me a sense of stability – that it’s time to prepare for Christmas. I can understand, though, how the décor is majorly disruptive for so many of us autistic people out there. They get in your way if you let them (and many don’t have a choice in the matter!). It’s like those majorly strong cinnamon brooms that used to get in the way of my nose about this time every year. This year, though, the cinnamon brooms were encased in plastic, and I barely smelled them. That’s progress.  

If it needs to be, do small Christmas decorations. Not everybody needs to have a Christmas tree which blocks the patio door. A little tree in the apartment on top of the table can be good enough. Don’t worry, dear autistic adult: do your holidays your way.  

I’ve also got a few tips for the parent or caretaker of the autistic person who needs more support than I do, along with personal experience. 

  1. Involve the autistic person in the decorating decisions. Again, since I’m coming from Christmas, it behooves them to involve how all the distracting stuff falls into place and helps get them ready for the holidays you celebrate. Believe me – getting the decorations out early helps them ease into the holiday.
  2. Rehearse/teach them how to receive various presents. Toys they can handle. What you might want to rehearse is how to receive socks, clothes and the stuff you’re not sure they know what it is. Teach them to simply say, “Thank you for the gift. It is lovely.” On a personal note, I received a wooden oven rack pull, and somebody had to explain and actually show to me what it was. Awkward! But I use that rack pull all the time.
  3. We NEED escape options. I end up going to the restroom frequently for this – but I think I need to explain to my hosts how this works. I don’t want to hog the bathroom all the time. It’s usually boring in there! I’m going to see if this year I can make a quiet space for myself and a fellow autistic relative of mine, if we go this year.
  4. Favorite foods and meals are good – remember, stability is key. In a potluck situation, this is easy to do. Sure, some autistic people can try a lot of foods, but bring the person’s favorites to maintain stability. Go ahead and bring the chicken nuggets, or whatever they need.
  5. LET THEM STIM. Stimming is a comforting motion which expends excess energy from emotion or stress. Leave them to it. 

I’ll give a few more tips as I think of them for a lower-stress holiday. They sometimes come slowly for me.