DO Have a Cool Yule
If your family is anything like ours, Christmas fever is starting to inch from bright-eyed merry to full-on crazy. It can feel impossible to keep things calm and bright. We love these gentle tips to soothe the frenzy, while these techniques from around the world bring some new ideas to the parenting party (we’re going to try the finger holds idea which can be used wherever you are. Finally, there are some great tips for making your Christmas less overwhelming for an autistic visitor here or for your own child with sensory issues here. Read on to discover more stress-busting hints.
MAKE and RECIPE Oranges are the Only Fruit
Oranges not only look festive, if you dry or cook them in the oven, they also fill the house with citrussy, festive smells. This year, we’re drying slices in batches; some will end up as tree decorations, some as garlands, and some as irresistible lightly sweetened crunchy snacks (try them in cocktails or soft drinks, or just to nibble on). Or bake something more substantial with an orangey and herbal kick – Orange and Cardamom tree biscuits are sublime. Or go big and create a hidden orange pudding.
RECIPE Chocs Away
Cocoa and milk is all very well, but why not reboot your hot chocolate game and go for maximum indulgence this festive season? Add an unusual herbal accent with anise, mint or basil, or try an alchemic lemongrass, lavender and white chocolate recipe. Vegans are not left out – there’s a great recipe for Five Minute cocoa here. Tres Leches cocoa is super-indulgent, but take yours to another level by adding coconut – double up the nuttiness with coconut churros (there’s also a recipe for rich Spanish hot chocolate there). Or put your foraging to good use and make a salted chestnuts, rosemary marshmallows and hot chocolate uber-snack. If you really cannot be bothered, or just don’t have any time, Nutella hot chocolate takes seconds to create.
MAKE Chairmen of the Board
The long winter holidays are on the horizon – let’s find some time to stock up on board games. There’s a great round-up of some of the best released this year here. If your kids struggle with the competitive element of games, or if you’d just like a gentler alternative, we love the collaborative options stocked at Myriad. A fun alternative is to make your own – either based on existing designs, or come up with something totally new. If you get heavily into board games, find friends and more ideas here.
MAKE Lord Wreath
Show your creativity to the world and make your own Christmas wreath. We adore a traditional holly-and-ivy affair (this is a great weekend to go out to find some in the woods or a nearby park), but why not try something a little different? This cookie-cutter design takes the biscuit, while this retro style winter wonderland is very cute. These fresh flower, asymmetrical versions are chic, but for something bolder, recycle some old tree ornaments into a door decoration. Finally, our love affair with craft blog Sew Yeah’s awesome ideas continues. Make giant ribbon rosettes, paper flower wreaths, or their wonderfully cheery, paint-dipped baubles.