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How Our Team Members Celebrate the Holidays
Happy holidays! I can hardly believe Thanksgiving is over and we’re already decorating the Christmas tree. Around the holidays, everyone at our office gets pretty excited to take part in a number of traditions, and we thought it would be fun to share some of those with you. Here are a few ways our team members celebrate at home. Maybe you’ll get some ideas of your own! How Our Team Celebrates Christmas Christine We always have family over on Christmas Eve, and after everyone goes home, we each open one gift. In the morning, we sit together and take turns opening one gift at a time, going in order from youngest to oldest. This way, we get to see what everyone got, and it makes it more special. We also cut down our own tree and decorate it with the kids’ homemade ornaments and ornaments people have given us. We love stringing popcorn for our tree. Amy We grew up eating bubble bread on Christmas morning. For those of you who aren’t familiar, bubble bread is made by shaping bread dough into balls and layering them in a pan. As the bread rises, the dough balls expand and create a pan of ooey, gooey, delicious “bubbles.” It’s addictive. Kelly On Christmas, Santa would come to my house twice! We would go to Midnight Mass after spending the day with all of my family. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins would trek over to church with our very full bellies. Once mass was over, we went home to find that Santa had stopped by and delivered all our big presents. We would open them and go to bed, leaving cookies and milk for Santa, and apples for the reindeer. When we woke up in the morning, we found the cookies, milk, and apples eaten, and our stocking full of little presents from Santa. I was very blessed to grow up in my house, surrounded by my amazing family, and to have Santa come twice every year! Christa We spend Christmas Eve with my husband's family. When we get home, it's usually pretty late, so we put out cookies and milk for Santa on the
table and carrots for the reindeer on our front lawn. We wake up pretty early the next morning and open gifts while listening to Christmas music. We stay in our jammies for a long time and watch “A Christmas Story,” while Jacob plays with all his new toys. In the late afternoon, we spend time with friends and stay for dinner, which usually involves eating a lot of Christmas cookies. Christine This year marks my second wedding anniversary with my husband and our second Christmas with our 18-month-old son. This will also be our first Christmas celebration at our new home, so we have yet to see how our traditions will follow. Our plan for this year is to invite both sides of our immediate family to our house on Christmas Eve for dinner and a gift exchange. My husband loves to sing and play the guitar, so I'm sure there will be plenty of caroling as well. Before our son goes to bed, we’ll place Santa's milk and cookies by the fireplace, which hopefully won't be too tempting for my son or his very pregnant mommy. On Christmas morning, we’ll go to church and then enjoy watching our son open gifts under the tree. We have a pretty festive crew, don’t we? Growing up in the Demas household, we had a traditional Norwegian dinner on Christmas Eve, including warm rice porridge for dessert. On Christmas day, the rice porridge from the day before was turned into Riskrem, a rice pudding, and put in a big bowl. A nut would be hidden in the Riskrem and whoever found the nut in their dish would be the winner, and get a nice piece of Norwegian chocolate! While the holidays are a time of festivities and celebration, we’re aware that not everyone gets to spend them with loved ones. Bitterly cold weather and heavy snow also make it hard to enjoy the outdoors and get enough sunshine. Even if the cold makes it hard to get outside, being stuck inside can turn into a fun game night with the family, and a chance to unplug from technology and spend time talking face-to-face, instead. Inside the newsletter, we have some more suggestions for overcoming the winter blues and creating more happy winter days. From everyone at Team Demas, we wish you a season full of joy and hope. Merry Christmas!
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THIS CHRISTMAS, GIVE A GIFT THAT GIVES BACK
TEAM DEMAS PARTNERS WITH LISA, INC.
If you visit our office in the next month, you’ll notice a Christmas tree on display. It might look fairly ordinary, but look a little closer and you’ll notice some special ornaments that adorn its branches. This is the Giving Tree. From now until Dec. 13, the Giving Tree will be decorated with ornaments that have gift ideas written on them, each with an age range to direct the gift toward. Take an ornament, replace it with a gift, and your gift will be given to a teen who has faced unimaginable challenges. We’re partnering with LISA, Inc. (Living In Safe Alternatives) to bring these gifts to teens in our community. LISA, Inc. is a nonprofit that provides a safe, supportive, and empowering environment for Connecticut teens who are in the custody of the Department of Children and Families. Each year, 7,000 Connecticut children are victims of abuse. Through academic programming and safe housing, LISA, Inc. helps these teens learn how to take care of themselves, to set up and maintain a home, to get and keep a job, to connect with themselves and others, how to dream of what’s possible, and most importantly, how to achieve it. LISA, Inc. believes every person has the potential to succeed. If you’d like to make a donation, please pick up an ornament when you visit us, now through Dec. 13. Our office will be closed from Dec. 18 through Christmas to honor the holiday, so be sure to pick your ornament from the Giving Tree and replace it with a gift before Dec. 13 if you’d like to participate. Merry Christmas, and thank you for being a part of this season of giving back!
Tracy is a Southington native and one of our orthodontic assistants. She has nearly 20 years of orthodontic experience – ALL of it in Southington. Tracy came to orthodontic work almost by accident. She walked into an office one day and just started learning. Her experience helping thousands of Southington patients reach their goal of a great smile demonstrates it was a great decision. It is always important to connect with patients. Tracy has a unique way of doing this. With three boys ranging in age from nearly 20 down to a toddler, she can relate to anyone who comes into the office. She does have a full house, as she and her husband, Josh, also have a dog, two cats, and two ferrets. Tracy enjoys activities with her family that include camping, kayaking, and skiing. She is also an avid Red Sox and Patriots fan. TRACY
We know you will love having Tracy bring great smiles to Southington.
“I want to change people’s lives by creating beautiful smiles.”
3 SIMPLE WAYS TO INCREASE JOY ‘JOY TO THE WORLD/JOY TO YOU AND ME’
2. MOVEMENT You may have to alter your workout routine to fit the colder temperatures, but it’s worth it to keep those endorphins flowing through winter. Functioning as “the body’s natural painkillers,” endorphins are a quick dose of happy with minimal effort. A Harvard study found that just 35 minutes a day of fast walking, five times a week, diminished the symptoms of mild to moderate depression. Working out under bright light further increased these positive effects, so find a well-lit gym. 3. SMILE Like exercise, the simple act of smiling can actually create endorphins. There are additional brain boosters emanating from your smile. The act releases a winning combination of dopamine and serotonin, natural antidepressants that relax your body and even lower blood pressure. Who knew such a simple movement had so many benefits? If you’ve been finding this last, happiness-inducing act challenging because you’re not satisfied with your smile, there’s something to be done. Contact Team Demas to discuss orthodontic treatment options and find the path towards a happier winter season, and a smile-filled life.
Winter ushers in a magical time of decorated front yards, festive events, and family gatherings. But for some of us, it also ushers in a whole season of feeling blue. Cold weather and fewer sunny days keep us indoors and less active than we usually are, and we miss the benefits of sunlight and outdoor activity. When you’re struggling to find joy this season, there are simple steps you can take to promote positive feelings in your brain. Here are a few scientifically backed ways to do it. 1. LIGHT THERAPY When it’s too cold to go outside, bring the light indoors. Spending 30 minutes a day exposed to artificial light, like that from a light box, can simulate the benefits of natural sunlight. If you have trouble waking up during dark mornings, try a dawn simulator that slowly increases brilliance to resemble the sunrise. An app can easily be downloaded to your phone, or purchase an alarm clock version. Both have been reported to improve morning wakeups.
TAKE A BREAK
CHRISTMAS STAR COOKIES
Looking for something a little lighter to leave for Santa this Christmas Eve? Try these star cookies! And, as an added bonus they’re paleo-friendly!
2½ cups blanched almond flour (not almond meal)
• • • •
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
½ teaspoon Celtic sea salt
5 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. 2. In a small bowl, mix coconut oil, agave, and vanilla. 3. Mix wet ingredients into dry. 4. Roll out dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper until ¼ inch thick. 5. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
6. Remove top piece of parchment paper and dust dough with almond flour. 7. Cut out cookies with a small star cutter. 8. Using a metal spatula, place stars on a parchment-lined baking sheet. 9. Bake at 350 F until edges are lightly browned, 5–8 minutes.
Recipe inspired by elanaspantry.com/star-cookies
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Team Demas Orthodontics 27 Meriden Ave #2A Southington, CT 06489
3 2 1 INS I DE TH I S ISSUE
Team Dema s Ho l i day Trad i t i on s
The G i v i ng Tr ee
3 S t ra t eg i e s to Bea t t he Wi n t e r B l ue s
Team Demas Orthodontics
THE UNCLEAR ORIGIN
OF CHRISTMAS TREES
When you brought home this year’s Christmas tree, you and the family most likely spent an evening decorating it with lights, store-bought and homemade ornaments, a star or angel topper, and maybe even tinsel. If you’re more traditional, you may have even included a popcorn string. But have you ever wondered why we started decorating our Christmas trees in the first place?
into their homes to celebrate the Name Day of Adam and Eve on Dec. 24. The families decorated the tree with apples and gingerbread. Before long, glassmakers began crafting small ornaments to hang on the trees. In Victorian times, trees were even decorated with candles! Over time, paradise trees evolved into Christmas trees. In the 18th and 19th centuries, when many Germans immigrated to the United States, they brought the tradition with them. However, the practice of decorating a pine tree with apples didn’t quite catch on. Then, In the winter of 1841, Queen Victoria of England requested a Christmas tree at Windsor Castle for her husband, Prince Albert, who was of German descent. The Queen thought the tree would be a nice gesture, and the London News published a story about the royal Christmas tree in 1848. The tradition quickly spread throughout Europe and North America. When Christmas trees first rose to prominence in the United States, they were often decorated with homemade ornaments, while many German-Americans continued to use apples, nuts, and marzipan cookies. Popcorn joined later, dyed bright colors and interlaced with berries and nuts. Electricity brought lights, making it possible for Christmas trees to glow for days on end. And with that, Christmas trees quickly became an American tradition.
While the origins of the Christmas tree are uncertain, we’ve used the evergreen fir to celebrate winter festivals, both pagan and Christian, for thousands of years. The tree has represented many things,
including the winter solstice, Saturnalia, and everlasting life with God. During the 1500s in Germany, people brought full pine trees, called paradise trees,
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