As an autistic person, I find holidays a bit pointless. There are so many to celebrate, and many of them feel like just an excuse to throw a party. I usually don’t feel regulated on those days and holidays can often feel like a sensory nightmare for autistic people. The underlying expectation is to do something outside of the norm and to act excited about it. This is very difficult and the forced interactions for the sake of a holiday feels unproductive.
Of course, we don’t want to prevent people from having fun. Some strategies for including autistic loved ones include avoiding large amounts of decorations, avoid food changes, offer breaks, fit celebrations into the normal daily routine, and ask them if they’d like to be included. This allows everyone to celebrate successfully and to enjoy the holiday together.
I love this Mitchell! This is EXACTLY what I’ve been trying to put together in my own mind about why I have so much difficulty with holidays at different points in my life! Usually when I’m stressed out already. You’ve said it so much better than I’ve been able to! Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I love certain holidays, but at other times, you nailed it, they just seem so pointless. It’s just a big disruption to my routine for no particular reason. Of course, part of the issue is that with most of my family living elsewhere, there’s not a lot of ‘celebration’ to be had. But all the same there’s the *expectation* that there should be, and stores and libraries close, or have shortened hours, and people are off work, and … all sorts of other disruptions.
And you’re right, there are so many of them. And it seems like people always want to add another one. Many of them are “greeting card holidays”, which is to say, ones that seem to be made up for the point of commercialism. And others, even though the intent behind them may be good (Family day, or days of rememberance for different populations) the reality is the majority of people just treat them as another day off, rather than any sort of important day.
Anthropologically, I understand the meaning and importance of ritual, which is what the big holidays are supposed to be about, but Western society at least, rarely treats them that way anymore. So much of it has become all about commercialism, not social bonding or community building. Not about structuring life into some kind of meaningful form.
Anyways, thanks Mitchell, for helping me put into words my frustrations with so many aspects of this problem! 😁