A week before Christmas vacation started for the kids at school, my husband drives me to the fabric store and tells me our son really wanted a visit from Santa. I like to craft and make things, and I think this costume came out beautifully. We had already taken him to see Santa at the mall, and then we ran into a different looking one in front of a store. It didn’t matter to my son that things seemed a little fishy because they were not the same man, he put his hand into his pocket and gave the “new” Santa a letter of wishes. Then Santa visited on Christmas eve. It was of course my husband dressed as Santa but my son did not seem to care. He didn’t let on that he knew that it was daddy in that suit. Until the next day that is. The first thing he said was, Santa has the same glasses as Dad.
The night that Santa was here though, he was ready to jump right into the spirit of things. He questioned Santa, asked him a couple of dozen of questions about the reigndeer and the elves, and how elves make toys. He made sure that Santa got his milk and cookies, and wanted to know if the reigndeer were on the roof. It was charming watching my husband think up a lie and think it up quick. (The grinch ain’t the only one that needs to do that).
It was only a little while later, that he began to let us in on his little joke that he knows the truth. He would mention things like, Santa is fat like Dad, or Dad your the same tall as Santa. He never once came out and said the plain truth though. Even pressed to answer if he believes in Santa, he would evade the question with Well, Santa just came to our house right? He turned that question right around on us!
So while, autistic children or children on the autism spectrum, can be tricked easily and are often hurt by their gullability, you should know, that sometimes they do know exactly what is going on, and they are just playing the game for our sake, or perhaps for the sake of their favorite holiday activities. Getting presents from Santa is important to him, so he has chosen to keep the game alive. Perhaps he believes that without Santa, Christmas might be different than what he has always known it to be and he just doesn’t want it to change.
There is a big change in christmas on the day a child sees through all the parental created fantasy, into the truth. For us it is a little disappointing, but that disappointment is pushed away by the knowledge, that the sweet offerings of christmas are being done for us by someone who loves us. When he is ready, I am sure he will come to that conclusion to, but until then, for his comfort, I am willing to leave the answer floating out there in the air. When he is ready, he will give us more signs that he knows, and when I explain it to him, I will not leave him disappointed, but reassured, that his Father loves him very much, and that is why I found myself sewing a Santa costume two weeks before christmas, and his Father hot glued a fake white beard to his own and then had to clip it off and shave off the remains of his own beard. (LOL) We wanted him to have the Christmas that he needed, because we love him. Either way we are the parents who love him,(dressed as Santa or not) so it doesn’t really matter what he believes as long as he knows that.