The stressors of the Holidays hit us in different ways. Some of us have financial stressors while others manage the stress of holiday parties. Helping someone on the spectrum manage the numerous changes in their routines and schedules and even their meals, etc. can raise the blood pressure for everyone in the family. The following tips may assist in minimizing the stress and help ring in the spirit of this time of year…
- Set realistic goals/plans for the holidays. Don’t try to overdo and fill every minute with a festive activity. Set time aside to set back and take in the spirit the holiday season can offer.
- Stick to a budget for holiday gifts…don’t over extend your family’s means.
- Plan in advance to complete the baking and the shopping and spending time with family and friends.
- Gradually decorate your home…don’t change everything at once.
- Avoid flashing/blinking lights if possible.
- Maintain consistent behavioral intervention (if currently in place) through the holiday season. Relaxing the limits will create a spike in behavior and raise confusion for the individual on the spectrum.
- Practice/rehearse the need to share new toys/gifts as others will be interested in playing with something new.
Of course, if the strategies above don’t work, making cookies as a family may be a fun way to enjoy the holiday and reduce stress at the same time. Here is a Gluten Free/Casein Free recipe for you to try…
Gluten Free/Casein Free cut-out Christmas Cookies:
- 1 ½ sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter (or Earth Balance for CF) at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 4 large egg yolks at room temperature
- 1 t grated lemon zest or lemon juice
- 1 t vanilla
- 3 cups Gluten Free Pantry French Bread & Pizza Flour Mix
- In your electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and salt until creamy.
- Beat in egg yolks, lemon and vanilla.
- On slow speed, beat in the flour one cup at a time until just combined.
- Divide dough into three equal parts, flatten into disc, wrap separately in wax paper and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Flour the work surface and your rolling pin with rice flour and roll out one disk at a time to 1/8 inch thickness. The dough will break up a little bit on the first roll, but then becomes very easy to work with. On the other end, the dough will be hard to work with after it warms up too much, so keep extras in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.
- Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.
- With a metal spatula, transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Depending on the size, makes around 40 cookies.
- Bake 10 – 12 minutes, until lightly golden. Cool on parchment.
- 1 pound box of powdered sugar
- ¼ cup milk (or almond milk for CF)
- 1 t vanilla
- 1 stick butter (or Earth Balance for CF)
Beat with an electric mixer until creamy, scraping the bowl often.
Frost the cookies as desired and top with sprinkles before the frosting sets.