Are you spending this holiday season exchanging gifts with loved ones? Ideally, instead of using memorized scripts to react to gifts from those we love most, we could just be ourselves! If it’s our goal to unmask at these get-togethers, we might try one of two paths:
1) Request to open gifts alone. Tell your companions that you’d like to enjoy opening their present instead of focus on reacting in a neurotypical way. You can go to a room by yourself or wait until later that night. Just be sure that after you see the gift, you tell the givers how much you appreciated it!
2) Declare to everyone that you’re going to be yourself! After reminding everyone that you’re on the spectrum, let them know that you may not react to their gifts in a neurotypical fashion. Be cautious though. While many neurotypicals want to believe they can be inclusive and understanding, they tend to still subconsciously enforce neurotypical standards and expectations. Give your loved ones clear requests, like, “Please don’t ask me if I like the gift after I open it.” Help your family learn how to be supportive!