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An Asperger’s OCD Christmas

The Christmas tree is now pleasantly stacked with gifts thanks to a wrapping fit I had yesterday. A reminder to those who have friends with Asperger’s: don’t let them buy the paper with stripes. They will be drawn to it, to the neat logic of the lines, but for your sanity and theirs . . . Because they will fixate on making the pattern even when they wrap, or will be appalled if you do not match the lines up if you do the wrapping. Seriously. Save everyone the trouble.

At least my Santa paper was of a red-and-white baroque pattern that did not compel me to make it “just so” when wrapping. What is “Santa” paper? Well, here is the other thing about Asperger’s people when it comes to Christmas: our very logical minds will not fail to notice if Santa uses the same paper as the rest of the family. So you’d better be sure Santa has his own designated wrapping paper design. Else your Asperger’s child will absolutely notice. Even if he or she plays along, s/he will have figured out Santa is not real.

Also, be sure to make Santa’s handwriting different from your own.

I’m not sure at what point I gathered these clues, but I was pretty young. I spent more time pretending to believe in Santa, for the sake of my parents’ enjoyment, than I did actually believing in him. And my seven-year-old son is the same way (though I haven’t had him diagnosed, am actively resisting that for personal reasons), so I can be sure his questing mind will jump to those same conclusions if I am not careful.

It takes one to know one, as they say.

Funny that I did not concern myself with the lack of logic in a magical man traveling the world in one night to leave gifts for people. Flying reindeer? Sure, why not. There was surely a scientific explanation. But the wrapping paper and my mother’s handwriting gave the game away.

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