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Cherishing what – and who – matters most at Christmas

McKenzie Andersen/YJI

Albany, Oregon, U.S.A. –  Big holidays like Christmas offer their own set of challenges to the disabled.

You hear, “Why aren’t you eating?”, “Have you tried yoga for your health conditions?”, “You look like you’ve lost/gained weight”, “Why can you never come to anything?”, “Why are you always sick?”, “You’re too young to have this much wrong with you” and more.

It’s dehumanizing at Christmas. 

When we have people over for Christmas, these kinds of comments and questions can make me feel uncomfortable, frustrated and sometimes even mad.

For two years, I couldn’t eat. Instead, I had to rely on a tube for my nutrition. Every Christmas, family would be here. 

I would feel depressed because everyone was eating my favorite foods – when I couldn’t eat, at all.

Eating is honestly an integral part of Christmas.

For those who are tube-fed, that’s one reason why the holiday is hard.

Being physically disabled is hard during Christmas because you end up getting left out of a lot.

You have to make sure that no one who comes around is already sick. You need to know that they are vaccinated, or have quarantined before coming. 

Your circle that is already small shrinks even more.

Here at my house, most of the time we have to make sure people have quarantined at least for two weeks before I can see them, unless we know that they haven’t been around the sick.

Around Christmas, you also hear people saying things along the lines of, “I have hope that you’ll be fixed” and “What’s wrong with you?”

But your small circle of people – the ones who you want to spend time with – ends up creating new traditions that you will share for years to come. 

McKenzie Andersen is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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