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This Boy's Christmas Card Showed Me The True Meaning of The Holidays

This guest post is by Autism Speaks Staffer Kerry Magro. Kerry, an adult with autism is a national speaker and autism advocate. You can follow Kerry on Facebook and TwitterThis post is part of an initiative on our site called “In Our Own Words: Living on the Spectrum,” which highlights the experiences of individuals with autism from their perspectives. Have a story you want to share? Email us at InOurOwnWords@autismspeaks.org!

Our autism community has always held a special place in my heart. When I became an advocate over seven years ago I didn’t know anyone who had autism. That’s why a few weeks ago when I got to play an autism-friendly Santa for 70 children with autism, I was ecstatic. These kids got to be elves for the day, eat cookies, dance to a parody of Taylor Swift’s “Shake  It Off'” called “Shake It Elf” and got to take their photo with me, Santa Kerry. When each one of them came up, they also presented me with a Christmas card that I could “take back to the North Pole with me for Ms. Claus.”

As the day went on I along with the other volunteers were truly touched by how genuine and kind the kids were. Then, while we were finishing the day, a boy came up to me, ready to get his photo when he held a Christmas card in his hands and asked…

“Santa, can you give this to my Grandpa. He passed away over a year ago.”

I looked at the little boy, probably no older than five-years-old and thought to myself on how to respond. It was not only a beautiful gesture but one of the most adorable and heartbreaking things I’ve ever heard. As I held back tears, I said to the boy…

“I’ll make sure he get's it. And remember, your Grandpa loves you, and he always will…”

While the little boy smiled,  I put the card down and lifted him onto my knee to take a photo I could only think about how much heart he had just shown me. When I was his age, I could never imagine going up to someone and expressing a similar thought  he just conveyed. NEVER underestimate the amount of empathy and love those on the spectrum can show us.

As the event ended we were all were completely exhausted but for me, it was all worth it because of this boy showed all of us the true meaning of the holidays…

Love.

Along with the 70 children with autism were their families who were having a great time with their kids the entire day. For most, this was their child’s first time meeting Santa. It made me encouraged to share this message with our community that, no matter what we have or are able to give this holiday season that the one thing that will never go out of stock is the unconditional love we have for one another.

So, while you head to your families and loved one's houses today and into the new year always remember to cherish the people in your life.

Our community is one of the best presents, I think any of us could ever ask to receive…

Have a story you want to share for our “In Our Own Words: Living on the Spectrum,” series in 2015? Email us at InOurOwnWords@Autismspeaks.org.

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.