A special Christmas letter to my brother with autism

By Seana Wheeler | December 19, 2018

This guest post is a letter written by 19-year-old Seana Wheeler. She has a 17-year-old brother named Ethan on the autism spectrum. Christmas is his favorite holiday, and Seana  embraces his love for it whole-heartedly, and wanted to express that in this letter.

seana and ethan

Dearest Ethan,

Christmas time has come upon us once more. Your favourite time of year. This will be our seventeenth Christmas together as siblings, when I think of how much this beautiful time of year, filled with joy and giving means to me, my thoughts always circle back to you. You have made Christmas a far more beautiful time, just by being yourself.

So far, you have mentioned Christmas what feels like fourteen hundred times since September began. Yet, I can’t think of ever having Christmas without it being mentioned by you first. When I think of ‘Christmas spirit’ the sweet picture of you enters my head. I picture your hands flapping up and down with excitement, which reminds me of the joyful ghost in Charles Dickens classic novel,  ‘A Christmas Carol.'

You may not understand the what people would call the "true meaning of Christmas," Santa Claus or Baby Jesus being born. Yet, you still somehow manage to encompass the Christmas spirit and everything Christmas is about. I think of you when we are older and how our future Christmases will be. How you will still have this infectious childlike joy. I think of when we put the tree up in the coming years and turn on the lights that adorn it, you will react the same way you do now. You'll be smiling as the lights reflect, gleaming in your eyes. You'll yell ‘Merry Christmas everybody!’ at the top of your lungs, standing on your tiptoes.  I even picture you doing this thirteen years from now as a thirty year old man.

seana and ethan 2

In this picture, I realise I will never lose the child I have grown up with for seventeen years. I know I will never stop hearing the first mentions of Christmas in September. Or how you'll always come up to me year in/year out, telling me your Christmas list repetitively in sets of three's. And I will always reassure you that Christmas is coming and that you will get that Thomas the Tank Engine train set and Batman action figure you’ve been asking for since the January.

Through it all, Christmas will never leave you, or in turn leave me. It will be something we have in our hearts all year round, because of you, Ethan. You are exactly what Christmas is and means. You are what Charles Dickens was intending when he wanted Ebenezer Scrooge to change his miserable ways.

Just know, no matter how many times you may ask me ‘Christmas? Christmas?’ in one day, or how many times you recite your Christmas list to me to the point where I can recite it back in my sleep, I will always love you. I will always think of the love you have for Christmas as tradition and I hope you know, whether I am near or far my Christmases will always be a bit merrier with you as a part of them.

Merry Christmas Ethan.

With love faithfully and always,

Your sister x

seana and ethan 3

Autism Speaks does not provide medical or legal advice or services. Rather, Autism Speaks provides general information about autism as a service to the community. The information provided on our website is not a recommendation, referral or endorsement of any resource, therapeutic method, or service provider and does not replace the advice of medical, legal or educational professionals. Autism Speaks has not validated and is not responsible for any information, events, or services provided by third parties. The views and opinions expressed in blogs on our website do not necessarily reflect the views of Autism Speaks.

We're Here to Help Chat with Us
Autism Response Team Chat
There are no available agents at the moment.

You can also reach the Autism Response Team by phone or email: 888-288-4762, en Espanol 888-772-7050, or help@autismspeaks.org.