Christmas Wonder for My Kids with Down Syndrome

This year, like the past seven, we’d been telling my live-in-the-moment Boys (identical twins with Down syndrome) for weeks that Santa Claus would soon be paying us a visit and leaving toys under Christmas trees all around the world for good little girls and boys in honor of Jesus’ birthday.


Because Jesus is all grown up and doesn’t want toys anymore but He remembers how great it was to get presents when He was a kid so he decided to share His with all the children who listen to their Mommies and Daddies. I got an “Oh yeah? That’s nice, Mom” look and then they went about their business unfettered by the information.

So, I took them to see “the big man in red who travels by sled” [my description] to ask for the toys they wanted. And I explained that since they are the Best Boys in the whole world, Santa was sure to bring lots of great toys for them on Christmas morning. Still, I got the “whatever” response! No matter how much enthusiasm I infused into my story-telling, all this talk of toys only resulted in The Boys responding, ” Mom. We go to toy store… Please?” Nor would they tolerate any Christmas movies… not “Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer” complete with Abominable Snowman or even my favorite, “How The Grinch Stole Christmas!” I thought for sure they’d tolerate a villain like the Grinch since he’s like a scrawny, evil Hulk wreaking havoc on the Whos down in Whoville. Not! Heck, they barely even watched “Polar Express” and, I think, only entertained me temporarily because the graphics on the out-of-control train ride are breath-taking, literally. They raised their hands in the air and screamed as though they were on a roller coaster… then they left the room to go play Wii… Bored with the whole Christmas theme developing around them!

Again, on the day before Christmas Eve when I took The Boys with me on my final trek to the toy store to pick up two last minute gifts, I explained Santa’s imminent visit, with all the store clerks nodding in agreement, “Yep, Mom’s right! All true!” No reaction…

Admittedly, even to me, none of the lead up felt quite like Christmas was actually coming this year. Perhaps the craziness of the past two months getting hit and trying to recover from Superstorm Sandy here on Long Island had something to do with it. But suddenly, halfway through Christmas Eve the air felt electrified with anticipation. Preparations were obviously underway — baking and cooking and cleaning for the various celebrations in progress. This unusual activity did not escape The Boys! Something was definitely going on!

As they played in the bath Christmas Eve night I repeated my stories including all the magical aspects of Santa’s visit and using the most fantastical words I could conjure up… and they GOT IT! Finally!

“ME? Santa gives toys to ME? ME???” Incredulous that a stranger would give them gifts for no apparent reason beside the well- known fact that they are such Good Boys! Then they proceeded to say all of the names of the good people they know – “my brother? Lala? Mommy? Daddy? Nick? Carolyn? Kevin? Sara? Me?” – asking whether each would be receiving toys. To each name I answered with an emphatic “YES!”

“TONIGHT? Boom boom boom [read: guns] Under MY Tree?

WOW! Cool!”


Thankfully, the excitement subsided long enough for them to sleep well and long. In fact, only school gets in the way of sleeping in for My Boys. But I couldn’t wait for the moment when I heard them giggling themselves awake upstairs and then their meandering trek to the stairs where, at the top of the staircase, not remembering the whole magical Santa story and excitement from the night before Christmas, they’d see their stockings stuffed to the brim and piles of presents beneath OUR tree. And, at THAT moment when they recalled the stories I’ve been pounding into their good little heads for the past few weeks…. OH THAT MOMENT, when it hits them that Santa really did come through for THEM… it was worth all the trouble, all the money and all the effort in the world to witness the wonder in their smiling, angelic faces and know they GOT IT on Christmas morning…








Sure, it might have taken 300 repetitions… but those few extra explanations are just what they needed to get it! And the wonder was so worth the effort! Take the time to share the story…. as many times as it takes! More from Maggie at


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