Belfast Telegraph

Paddy McGuinness opens up on celebrating Christmas with autistic children

He and his wife Christine are parents to three young children.

Paddy McGuinness and his wife Christine have erected their first Christmas tree in five years but keep it outside for the sake of their autistic children (Ian West/PA)
Paddy McGuinness and his wife Christine have erected their first Christmas tree in five years but keep it outside for the sake of their autistic children (Ian West/PA)

Paddy McGuinness and his wife Christine have opened up on celebrating Christmas with their autistic children.

The Take Me Out host and his model partner are parents to four-year-old twins Penelope and Leo.

The children were diagnosed with autism eighteen months ago, a condition that affects communication and behaviour.

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Paddy McGuinness and his wife Christine have spoken about celebrating Christmas with autistic children (Steve Parsons/PA)

About 700,000 people in the UK are autistic, according to the National Autistic Society.

Last Christmas, Christine revealed the lights on the tree unsettled the twins so the family never put one up.

This year, however, Christine said she and Paddy have learned how to help them enjoy the festivities more and have placed a tree in the garden.

She told the Sunday Mirror: “I’m excited because the children understand this time of year a bit more. And we know about how to deal with their style of Christmas.

“You get excited and think, ‘I’ll buy that and that,’ but we can’t go over the top. Less is more with our children, we keep it quiet for them.

“We don’t have a tree in the house, but we have one in the garden. They can close the door on that when they’ve had enough.”

Christine married soon-to-be Top Gear host Paddy in 2011 and the couple have a third child, two-year-old daughter Felicity.

Felicity is also showing signs of autism. Christine, 30, admitted she becomes downhearted when she sees other families’ Christmas trees on social media but said: “Inside our house, everything is completely normal”.

She added: “But instead of feeling low we just think, ‘What’s the point in a tree that might upset them?’

“Hopefully next year we might put one up for a couple of days.”

PA

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