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Update 2022!… Things have moved on even more since I shared this blog post in 2018. I’m flourishing at Christmas now too! I’m leaving the blog here as there it’s still super helpful and this is an annual ritual for me now – to reflect on Christmas and time travel to the next so I can decide what must be different – year by year I’ve rung in the Christmas changes and now everyone has a much happier festive season – including me! 


Hear me out… You may still be eating leftovers and clearing up the wrapping paper, but now is the perfect time to make a decision. 

While disasters, frustrations, angry exchanges and unmet expectations are still running around your mind is the perfect time to make a decision about next Christmas.

What’s the truth?… What’s really at the heart of what we’re looking for when we want this ‘Happy Christmas’? If we really got down to it, what’s at the real heart of it?

When I ask myself that question, at the heart is LOVING CONNECTION.

That’s what I’m trying to create, to feel connected to people, to friends, to my family and my partner particularly… and at Christmas we seem to have to wrap it up in lots of Christmas bows and stuff. Let’s find another way so you can begin to experience what your heart most desires.

As neurodiverse couples and families, loving connection can be a challenge to create at the best of times. It’s often taken a lot of hard work, understanding and practice to find something that works on a daily basis, and many are still working on finding it. Then at Christmas, a once-a-year event, everything changes, right when we’re hoping for even more loving connection than usual. It’s dawned on me how much more difficult we’re making it for ourselves, with all the Christmas trappings and wrapping, to experience what’s most important to us!

Before we go any further, can I ask you a question? Do you have a winter coat you love or perhaps you remember one as a child? How easily could you give it up, or the memory of it?

Here’s the thing. It was a really significant thing to admit to myself…. the Christmas coat I was sold by culture, church and consumerism simply doesn’t fit us – in fact it’s heavy and ill-fitting. I’m afraid it doesn’t give us the ‘Silent Night’, ‘Winter Wonderland’ or any Jingle in our Bells like the adverts and sermons promised.

With the advent of neurodiversity, if there was to be any hope of a Happier Christmas, I was going to need to give up that Christmas coat and tailor myself a different and very individual one.

In the four Christmases since we discovered neurodiversity in our relationship and family, I’ve been tailoring a different Christmas coat… from one fraught with difficulty, sadness and resentment to one filled with fun, happiness and adventure. I’ve been making alterations to my Christmas coat year by year so that it fits me better and those I want to spend Christmas with. This year I stepped out in my unique, totally tailored Christmas coat. It has features inspired by the old one, but mostly you wouldn’t recognise it as a Christmas coat.

It doesn’t feel especially Christmassy yet…. because it’s going to take me a while to get comfy in this coat – it fits like a glove but I’m not used to it in the mirror yet after wearing the other Christmas coat for so long.

Would I trade this year’s Christmas Coat Moments of Love, Joy and Peace for the old coat’s familiar Christmassy feeling that came with stress, meltdowns, resentment and sadness? Never in a million years! All I ever wanted for Christmas was Love, Joy and Peace….  with a neurodiverse family, though, I’d been expecting us to wear the wrong outfits to the party….

Not convinced yet? What’s it costing you….wearing the familiar feeling Christmas coat? …sanity, inner peace, health, financial burden, relationships, loving connection?

I can hear some of you wondering where you can get your hands on one of these ‘Love Joy Peace’ coats! They’re very exclusive. Few will give up their familiar coat for the adventure to find their unique Christmas couture!

I’d love more neurodiverse couples and families to find their ‘Love Joy Peace’ Christmas coat so here’s my secret…

I noticed that I began to weave the threads of next Christmas’ coat soon after this one had finished. I looked back briefly then looked ahead… exactly twelve months ahead.

In 2015 I decided “I’m not spending next Christmas at home with my husband” ….and by March I’d accepted an invitation to spend Christmas with some friends and my daughter (without husband) in the French Alps!

In 2017 I decided “Simplify Christmas” and bought a sale decoration to ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ ….I discovered it again this month and it’s been my anthem this Christmas season.

So… Raise your hand who wants more Love, Joy and Peace next Christmas?

Raise your hand whose willing to trade your familiar Christmas Coat for a unique and tailored version? It’s going to need a new decision to be made – no maybes. Only in a decision will you begin to weave the threads for your ‘Love Joy Peace’ Christmas coat.

‘It’s in our moments of decision that our destiny is shaped’ Tony Robbins

Did you raise your hand? It’s time…. There’s one question to answer….

What MUST YOU do different next Christmas?

What are you deciding inside yourself right now?

“I’m deciding that next Christmas I…”

You don’t need to ask ‘How?’ right now. The power is in the decision itself that you’ve made and a commitment to following through on it. When you live into the decision, there will be questions and answers to unfold beyond it. You will have more certainty and confidence about those because of the decision you’ve made right now.

How about commenting below with your decision… there’s even more power in sharing and seeing in words what you have decided.

From me to you… Congratulations and “Cheers”… I’m raising a toast… 🥂

‘Here’s to all of the year by year Christmas coat alterations we make, in anticipation of the many more moments of Love Joy and Peace that will be created and shared…Here’s to a MERRY NEXT CHRISTMAS’

With love and time-travelling sparkle…

Neurodiverse Relationship Coach Natalie's signature with an x below

Natalie Roberts

Author Natalie Roberts

Natalie Roberts is an award-winning Master Coach and Mentor supporting individuals and couples in neurodiverse relationships in the UK and around the world. She coaches individuals and couples to reverse the impact of unknown neurodiversity and thrive so that they can be true to themselves and feel empowered to make decisions about their present and future that are positive and hopeful.

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