A Very Aspie Thanksgiving


“Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often.” ~Johnny Carson

Ralph's well-done

I’m gonna come right out and say it: Thanksgiving is among my least-favorite holidays. It comes in slightly ahead of Arbor Day and slightly behind Columbus Day (one of those holidays nobody really celebrates anymore and which nobody aside from bank employees seems to get off.) It falls on a Thursday and is followed by a day any Aspie dreads-Black Friday.

This year I thought I’d prepare a highly informal Aspie survival guide/commentary for this most American of holidays. Some of the experiences are my own, and names have been changed for hilarity’s sake. Everybody get out your jellied cranberry sauce, now, and sing along…

"Nuke-yeh-lur" turkey

* We realize Thanksgiving is one of those “family” holidays. We want to participate, but in our own way.

As stated in the quote I selected this time, sometimes a little goes a long way for Aspies. Contrary to popular belief, we are not a bunch of frigid automatons who lack any kind of empathy. Truth is, I have a hard enough time remembering my co-workers’ names and faces, much less someone I see every few years. Give us time and space, and we will show love in our own unique style. This may or may not involve hugging/kissing. Don’t be offended; for many Aspies, it is just a hard thing even with those we know well.

Is this a new style of Turduckat?

* At dinner, don’t force us to eat, and don’t guilt-trip us.

We get that turkey, pumpkin pie, etc. are all traditional. However, many of the traditional Thanksgiving feast items may be revolting to our finicky palates. Because it might be a little un-cool to serve Tyson’s chicken wings or mac n’ cheese on this special day, go easy on us. If it’s supposed to be an enjoyable feast, let us eat what we want or don’t want. And don’t use the phrase “try it, you’ll like it” on us…we already know what we like and don’t like.

Help! I'm on a big fake turkey!

* Please turn the TV off…at least for a little while.

A lot of people I know think I’m nuts when I tell them I don’t watch TV anymore. So much of it is background noise, shameless advertisements, and stupid reality shows. I figure I’m going to become a better person not watching TV. Unfortunately in most NT households, and usually during the holidays, the TV is left on. I do *not* want to watch more than a quarter of the Detroit Lions game, and I have no interest in cheesy holiday specials or parades. Let’s listen to music instead.

Meega nala kreesta!

* Traditions aren’t carved in stone…they can change.

Nobody said something has to be forever. Why not put our minds together and think of some new traditions? Trivial Pursuit every year? Watching the Festivus episode of Seinfeld? Making a popcorn chain? As far as we’re concerned, many of the traditions aren’t logical. Keep the best ones and create something new each year.

What? No Murdock action figure?

* Perhaps most importantly…don’t immediately rush into Christmas.

The holidays can be among the most stressful times of year for Aspies, whose nervous systems are already on high alert. With the additional bombardment of music, smells, sights and sounds which begin sometime before Halloween, it’s all we can take. Let the turkey and cranberry sauce digest, at least for a day or so, before putting up the tree and busting out the DVD of A Christmas Story.

I have many reasons to be thankful.

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on November 23, 2010.

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