Today marks the last day of Channukah. To all who celebrate, Hanukkah Sameach! I had the opportunity to learn more about Channukah from one of my clients, Dustin. Dustin came in for our weekly session and I gave him a choice of lessons, which included a lesson on the traditions of Christmas. Although Dustin and his family are Jewish, he chose to do the Christmas lesson. Dustin was kind enough to share some of his thoughts on Channukah with me so that I was able to learn too! Like Dustin, I think it is important to learn about the religions and cultures of the world. Perhaps if we all learned more about each other’s religions, cultures, customs, abilities, and lives we might all contribute to create a more accepting world.
Here are a few questions from our lesson and Dustin’s fantastic creative writing. My questions are in italics and Dustin’s responses are in all caps.
How do you think Christmas and Channukah may be similar or different?
SIMILAR BECAUSE THEY ARE BOTH HAPPY CELEBRATIONS WITH FAMILIES. DIFFERENT BECAUSE THEY ARE FOR DIFFERENT RELIGIONS.
What are two theories behind Christmas gift giving?
EYES ON HISTORY WILL RECOGNIZE THE STORY OF SANTA IN THE STORY OF ST. NICHOLAS. I THINK WHAT MATTERS IS THE SPIRIT OF THE GIFT NOT THE GIFT.
Tell me about gift giving in Channukah.
THERE ARE EIGHT NIGHTS OF PRESENTS IN CHANNUKAH. THEY ARE STRICTLY SYMBOLIC. IT IS NOT REALLY ABOUT THE PRESENTS LIKE CHRISTMAS. YOU HAVE SO MUCH GIFT GIVING AND GETTING ON CHRISTMAS.
What are your thoughts on gift giving/getting?
THE REAL GIFTS ARE THE ONES YOU CAN’T WRAP. STUFF IS NOT A GIFT. STUFF IS NOT VERY PERSONAL. REAL GIFTS ARE YOUR FAMLIY AND FRIENDS. REAL GIFTS ARE YOUR WORDS AND TIME TOGETHER. TIME SPENT WITH LOVED ONES IS THE CHRISTMAS GIFT I WISH FOR ALL.
Do you have more to add? ONLY THAT IT IS NOT IMPORTANT TO SHOW LOVE WITH GIFTS.
Let’s do a creative writing of your choice. A poem, story, anything…
I WOULD LIKE TO WRITE A LETTER TO SANTA. (This came as quite a surprise to his mom and me! We could not wait to hear what Dustin was going to tell us.)
NOT SURE YOU GET MANY LETTERS FROM AUTISTIC JEWS. HERE I AM ANYWAY. I DON’T WANT TO MAKE ANY REQUESTS FOR STUFF. I ONLY WANT TO ASK THAT YOU TAKE CARE OF MY FELLOW AUTISTICS. THEY MIGHT BORE MANY PEOPLE BUT TRUST ME THEY HAVE THE BEST IMAGINATIONS. TOO BAD YOU CAN’T WRAP UP EVERYTHING AUTISTICS NEED. YOU CAN’T WRAP UP LOVE, MY FAMILY AND ACCEPTANCE. YOU CAN’T PUT A BOW ON EDUCATION AND WORDS. YOU DO A SUPER JOB SO DON’T FEEL BAD.
Wow! Dustin’s message is on point for any holiday that you may be celebrating this season! Wishing you a great joy for all holidays that you celebrate.
~Elizabeth and Dustin