A Disorderly Night Before Christmas


‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stimming, still this mom pouts;
Her stockings were flung to the floor without care,
In hopes this year’s Christmas Day stress she can bear;

The child was nestled all snug in mom’s bed (sigh),
While visions of numerous wine glasses danced in her head;
She wonders who invented toy packaging and thinks he needs a slap,
Here comes the cursing, and her cleanest word is “Crap!”

As the sound of her tearing through plastic makes a huge clatter,
She prays no child wakes to hear what was the matter.
With wire cutters she frees toys in a flash,
For some holiday memories she’d rather not rehash.

Why all of this prep? Inserting batteries, ensuring gifts are ready to go?
Just fending off Christmas morning meltdowns, if you must know.

Wait, what to her blurry eyes should appear,
But an epiphany of more holiday tips this autism mom holds so dear.

With so many requests, so lively and quick,
She remembered in a moment
an RSVP need be not be received from this chick.
More rapid than wrinkles the invites they came,
So she emailed and texted, and called them by name;

Oh, come on! Who are ya’ll kiddin’?
We cannot fulfill EVERY holiday commitment
So dash away! Dash away (most) all!

As canned goods leave store shelves before a Florida hurricane can fly,
she can decorate her holiday home in the blink of an eye,
but her son has his own vision thought through,
Hallelujah, he should help decorate for old St. Nicholas too!

Her son “messily” trimmed the tree, stretching tall as a roof
A prancing and pawing with each little decor-happy hoof.
Hand over hand, by the time she turned around,
her son’s joy and pride was revealed with a bound.

At the mall she had him all dressed from his head to his foot,
And dreamed he’d want a photo with the man
soon to be covered in soot;
Though a bundle of reinforcers she had flung in her sack,
It could not keep her son from screaming “Mall Santa is a “HACK!”

But her son’s eyes — how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
Is now the time to worry if others are staring?
Sometimes, she thought, this is how ASD can go,
And now cares little that once her face had turned white as
Christmas snow;

At the holiday show he writhed in his seat,
So they ditched and thought looking at old pics would be neat;
one Christmas her son had a broad face and a little round belly,
and of good memories they laughed enough to make even the typicals jelly.

Christmas Day her son was acting the cranky old elf,
Yet she smiled when she saw him, in spite of herself;
handing him gifts labeled by number instead,
armed with their social story she knew she had little to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
opening gift “1,” then “2,” then “3;” then to her turned with a jerk,
smiling (without being asked to pose),
And with that silent nod, up her Christmas spirit rose;

Soon her son sprang to his feet, and decided with gifts he was done;
Good enough for her,
For respecting his way of partaking reveals a mother’s love for her son.
Maybe next year she may hear him exclaim, ere he scurries out of sight,


South Florida autism moms Brenda Popritkin and Kristi Vannatta are the creators and hosts of The Disorderly Blondes Autism Podcast. EVERY day they get to record and share their parenting experiences (both jolly and coal deserving) is like Christmas. You can listen to the podcast on the Anchor app and watch the show on their YouTube channel. To subscribe to more blonde jokes visit

Interested in writing for Finding Cooper’s Voice? LEARN MORE

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

Avatar photo

Kate Swenson

Kate Swenson lives in Minnesota with her husband Jamie, and four children, Cooper, Sawyer, Harbor and Wynnie. Kate launched Finding Cooper's Voice from her couch while her now 11-year-old son Cooper was being diagnosed with autism. Back then it was a place to write. Today it is a living, thriving community of people who want to not only advocate for autism, but also make the world a better place for individuals with disabilities and their families. Her first book, Forever Boy, will be released, April 5, 2022.

Share this post: