Now Reading: Autism Parent Holiday Tip: Drink Alcohol & Skip the Meal :-)

Autism Parent Holiday Tip: Drink Alcohol & Skip the Meal :-)

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(originally written & published on November 23, 2015)

OK. I’ll come clean. I purposely used that title to get your attention and to get you to click. Guilty of click bait I admit it!

However the headline is partially true.
Wifey went to a parent support group at the king’s new school last week and they talked a little bit about surviving the holidays with special needs kids.
And wifey told her story about how last year she had one of her best/calmest holidays since the king was born.
As she told it, what she realized is the most frustrating part of any holiday for her is
that she really never has a chance to sit down and enjoy her meal.   He’s not always being Mr. Destruction, but when 20 people are sitting down to eat, he’s always running around.  And poor wifey is always running after the king.
Sure, she and I try to tag-team and I’ll eat first and she’ll watch the kid and then she’ll eat and I’ll watch him or vice versa.
But while you’re eating it’s always guilt ridden because you’re wondering when you’re going to get a tap on the shoulder from your spouse saying “times up… now you’re on king duty and it’s my time to eat.”
So last year wifey put it in her head that she wasn’t going to worry about eating at all.
There’s always going to be leftovers she figured. And sometimes she enjoys eating the leftovers on our living room couch at 10:30 at night by herself better anyway.


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So, she got it in her head that she would follow his majesty around and do whatever he wanted to do and if that involved taking a nibble of food here and they’re great, and if you that meant sitting on the staircase playing with his iPad for 40 minutes that’s what she would do as well.
She took food out of the equation. And instead hung with the king… and yes had a few drinks. Yes that’s right, only a few drinks…only a few drinks on a completely empty stomach 🙂
And she was feeling mighty good while only the first course was being served… and the king had his moms full attention and was happier than usual.
She did this a little bit on Thanksgiving, but she liked how it worked out so much that she really kicked it into high gear when she did this on both Christmas Eve dinner at our house and Christmas Day dinner at her sister’s house.
Let me just say that on both of those days she was feeling pretty, pretty pretty, darn good.
I don’t think she’s drank two days in a row like that since the infamous college years.  🙂
Her drinks of choice over the holidays: beer and Malibu rum with seltzer.
And it’s not like her and the king were sitting alone the whole day.  She would follow him around, and various family members would jump in and join them in his playroom, or on the staircase, or in the living room, or wherever they were.
And I still tag teamed and helped out, and joined them a lot too… and refilled wifey’s drink when necessary… 🙂


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Now, the lesson here for you guys and for the folks in the support group isn’t that drinking made everything better
(although it did make things a wee bit better) 🙂
The lesson here is that when she changed her expectations of what makes a good holiday she had a better time and the king had a better time.
And you would think, why didn’t you guys change your expectations sooner?  Well it’s hard.  We both come from big Italian families.  And the meal is important.  Sitting down to the actual meal (whether it’s Thanksgiving, Xmas Eve or Day) is what it’s all about.  Plus we both LOVE food.
So, we’ve slowly been changing our holiday expectations & traditions over the years… and dragging the family along with us.  I wrote last year about 5 adjustments to holiday traditions that we have made over the years (read), the biggest one being that we always had Christmas Eve at our house and a few years back we started catering in instead of cooking.
So based on the success of last year I guess you could say that we’ve added a 6th adjustment to our holiday tradition.  Wifey is not going to worry about sitting and enjoying her holiday meals.  Instead she is going to have a few drinks on an empty stomach, cater to his majesty, and then have her meal at later that night while watching “Love Actually” on Netflix.
Sounds pretty, pretty, pretty good, doesn’t it?
Happy Holidays All!



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If you’re gonna shop Amazon anyway, can I ask that you enter Amazon by using the search box above or by going to  This way I can make a little money to help pay for my son’s after school & weekend therapies.  This blogging thing has been awesome & life changing for me… but I must admit that it’s taking up a lot more time than I ever thought… so if I can make a few bucks it’ll make it easier for me to justify….Love you all! Thanks!!


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Written by

Frank Campagna

I’m a 48 year old neurotypical dad with a 14 year old son with severe, non-verbal autism & epilepsy. I created this blog to rant about autism & epilepsy while celebrating my son who I affectionately call “the king” :-).

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4 People Replies to “Autism Parent Holiday Tip: Drink Alcohol & Skip the Meal :-)”

  1. Yes! I need to do this. Thanksgiving royally sucked this year. I already know the biggest hurdle to this will be convincing my in laws not to feel sorry for me and urge me to sit down. I'm also thinking having more holidays at our own house would be the best idea. 🙂

  2. Tag-team is a good term to say. This is also what my wife and I have been doing as well. Thank you for bring out that term. In a social gathering, we alternately socialise, eat and drink. I am have my own me time going out with friends. She has her own as well. And so we tag-team.

  3. My wife is seriously considering this strategy. Thank you so much for your blog! It makes my wife and I feel a lot less alone and a lot less guilty for being able to laugh at the ups and downs of life with an autistic son.

  4. A great solution 🙂 We've stopped eating at the dinner table altogether, after five years of fighting and shouting and trying just about everything to keep the peace. It was just impossible. Now we all eat where we want to and use the telly to keep them distracted 😛 Our psychologists though it was a great idea after the struggle we went through. So I can totally relate to trying to find a way that works for your family!