"Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends."
– Margaret Thatcher
See the exterior and the interior of Creative Beadcraft in the Old Market.
Christmas can be especially stressful for foster children and other trauma survivors. There are tips for surviving the holidays with an anxious child or one who sabotages special occasions. Understand how to help children get out of survival mode.
This is Shiv's "fuck off" coffee up. Check out Ashanti Dark Roast Whole Bean Coffee.
This recipe for Crockpot Egg Casserole gets put in the crockpot the night before and cooks overnight.
Molly's cinnamon rolls can be made ahead, then the dough is either chilled in the refrigerator or frozen in the freezer. Place the tray of frozen rolls on the countertop and bring to room temperature before baking. Frozen rolls may be thawed overnight.
Most people hate fruitcake, for a variety of reasons. Largely because most recipes suck. Some high-burn soups love the stuff, though, because it is basically waycake. This recipe sounds quite excellent, as it uses dried fruit instead of glace cherries.
Junket's popcorn cookie tin is about 10" diameter x 14" tall. The divided tray is about 9 1/2" x 1 1/4" with seven sections. Each section holds 3-4 cookies on average, so 21-28; mixing different styles, this can be balanced to 24. The layers are separated with padded circles. The tin holds 10 layers of cookies. At 24 cookies per layer, that's 240 cookies or twenty dozen.
Here are some recipes for holiday cookies, no-bake cookies and bars, protein cookies, and healthy breakfast cookies. Each person chose three recipes, and there are four people. The individual recipes are: Chocolate-Vanilla Cookies, Butterscotch Bars, Rosemary Shortbread Christmas Trees, Energy Cookies, Chlorella Cookies, Matcha Christmas Wreaths, Raw Vegan White Chocolate Superfood Bark, Cherry Icebox Cookies, Peppermint Shortbread Pinwheel Cookies, Flourless Chocolate Whey Cookies, No-Bake Chocolate Coconut Snowballs, and White Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Fudge. By combining regular cooked treats with no-bake ones, four people can share a kitchen more efficiently than if they were all waiting to use the ovens.
Dr. G introduced Shiv to the idea of icons and schedule boards in "The One Who Keeps Demanding." Shiv doesn't have those tools with him, but he knows what they are and how to use them. Tolli and Simon printed out the icons on fresh paper and used paperclips to fasten them to a ribbon, which works great for short-term use. This helps Shiv organize his memories of what he has already done, make plans for what he wants to do, and see options for things he might want to do or to take off the schedule. He needs that support because his sequencing is so patchy from past abuse, and it's worse around holiday topics.
Social stories and visual schedules can help lower holiday stress. These are easy to customize if you do them on a computer or if you make a mounting board where you can stick different icons. These sensory folders show how icons can be mounted with something like velcro.
Vrip (or in our world, velcro) can be used to make such things as a sensory folder, storyboard for feelings, storyboard for days of the week, or storyboard for routine. This storyboard for sequencing can be used to play a game of following directions. When working with this type of organizer, it helps to have a big batch of icons for common nouns, verbs, and other concepts. Add new batches for specific topics as they come up, such as Christmas or other holidays. Then you can mix and match the pieces for many different projects. Here are some Christmas icons and a sample schedule.
It's a good idea to keep a box of gifts for unexpected guests. Stock with emergency gifts for anyone, for kids, for Christmas, and so on.
Simon's lap desk from Tolli is an example of popular gifts for wheelchair users. A silicone pad insulates the wooden desktop from the heat of a laptop computer and prevents things from sliding around.
The best high-end pasta machine is the Marcato Atlas from Italy. The nice thing about Tolli's pasta maker is that it can add all kinds of accessories such as these extra pasta cutters.
Shiv's gift from Tolli is a set of metals that have rainbow colors including niobium, titanium, and bismuth. To Shiv, the bismuth makes a perfect fidget, acting like a set of blocks. He keeps collapsing and expanding it into different crystalline forms.
This is a collapsible travel cup. The bad ones always leak. The good ones do hold water securely, but you have to pull the rings quite snug to do that.
Tolli gives Luci a gift card wallet including cards for Happy Teen, Mapuche Mail, Greenbucks, a phone card, Darden Restaurants, and Old Market in Omaha. Explore good cards for college students and multi-store gift cards. More flexibility is better, unless you know someone's favorite store. Simon's holly topper is easy to make.
Shiv gives Simon a pendant of dichroic glass.
Magazine gift subscriptions may be dressed up by including an item related to the magazine's topic along with the card. Shiv's gift from Luci is a magazine subscription card wrapped in a blue snowflake kitchen towel.
Edible Health is a T-American magazine with vividly colored pictures of food, primarily fresh fruits and vegetables, news from the nutrition field, dietary tips for specific illnesses or injuries, lots of nutritious recipes, and detailed showcases of individual ingredients.
Shiv's gift from Simon is a telescoping baton.
This is Luci's marbled paper from Shiv. Many craft projects use leftover wrapping paper, such as making your own paper.
Luci's dichroic beads from Shiv include blue with snowflakes, blue ice, rainbow donuts, aqua donuts, and metal cores.
See Tolli and Graham's plaid christmas bows. Shiv just got the one with green plaid on top. Learn how to make various Christmas bows. Instructions for making a doggie bow tie work well for reusable gift bows.
Among the tips for a green holiday, reusable Christmas bows may be made from felt, fabric, or ribbon. Among my family's reusable toppers is a strip of red-and-green tassel trim. You can also crochet bows from acrylic ($0.60-$3) or cotton ($1-2/skein) yarn. You can make a lot of bows from one skein of yarn. Decent bows cost several dollars per package, and the fanciest ones cost several dollars each. While it's possible to find a bag of bows for a dollar, the cheap ones often fall apart while you're trying to get them on the package, and they look shabby.
This is the krevel apron that Shiv gives to Tolliver. The white patch shows the blacksmith's license or other ID.
Simon's gift to Luci is a box of silk scraps from the craft stash. Recycled silk yarn comes in beautiful colors. I have a gorgeous box-bottom scarf made with a couple stripes of silk yarn. Recycled sari fabric can be bought in bulk. Luci's batch comes packed in a pair of closet organizers for easy storage.
See Dairinne's snowman sleep sack.
Junket shows up wearing a Peacock Santa hat and teal elf shoes.
Barmbrack is an Irish fruitcake. Enjoy a recipe.
This is the "Welcome" brick at the Finn house in California. Learn how to make one.
“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.”
-- David Brinkley
This is the Christmas sweater that Shiv finds for Graham, with tinsel threads indicating the laser beams from the eyes.
The Finns send Shiv a swordsman's shirt for Christmas, pure white cotton with glossy fibers worked into some of the threads so that it almost sparkles, and silver grommets. This is a slim cut shirt with sleeves laced correctly. Here is a closer look at grommets, but the sleeves are laced backwards. The whole point to this style of shirt is to keep the bows away from your hands.
Shea butter has many benefits, including hair care. It's very popular among people with nappy hair. For fine, flyaway hair just a tiny dab can make the hair lie down and behave. Simon gives Shiv a set of several tins with different flavors of shea.
Family traditions are important for many reasons. Here are some to try out.
Christmas traditions are especially important. (Other cultures may have a different holiday for peak family bonding.) People celebrate this holiday in various ways.
Among the Christmas traditions mentioned in this poem:
2. Host an annual cookie decorating party
26. Sipping hot chocolate by the lit fireplace curled up under a blanket, and watching the first Christmas movie of the season
31. Making handmade ornaments
34. Playing board games with the family after Christmas dinner
38. Baking a cake with a goody inside, whoever gets it, gets the “Christmas luck” for the year!
47. Making a calendar or family year book
50. Making a Christmas wreath with friends for y’alls front doors
There are plenty of alternatives to the classic Christmas stocking, such as a treasure hunt. As in replacing the regular tree with a paper one, use these if someone has a stocking trigger but doesn't wish to lose out on tiny gifts.