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Tis the Season to Sparkle: Unwrapping the Magic of the Holidays!

Ah, the magic of the holiday season! The holidays bring with it a sense of warmth, joy, and, of course, the tradition of giving. While the joy of unwrapping a beautifully wrapped gift is undeniable, what if this year, we went beyond the initial excited and crafted presents that continue to bring joy, meaning, and value long after the festive season ends?

Let’s explore the art of a gift that keeps on giving. These are not just material possessions but experiences, memories, and contributions that leave a lasting impact.

Our practitioners are excited to offer some handpicked favorites in movies, books (for both adults and kids), and recipes that might bring joy to your Christmas season.


Dr. Patricia Miller – For this Christmas season - The Polar Express, American Symphony-Mathew Heineman

Dr. Trista Keating

  1. A Cat Story – Ursula Murray Husted

  2. Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting – Clarie Pooly

  3. The Birth House – Ami McKay

  4. Three Day Road (Bird Family Trilogy, #1) – Joseph Boyden

  5. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

Natalie – Elf or Four Christmases

Maria – Last Holiday

Paul Welch – Magnolia

Kids Books

Dr. Patricia Miller

  1. Let us Touch the World Together – Dr. Patricia Miller (in-press). 

  2. I Love You to the Moon and Back- Amelia Hepworth and Tim Warnes

Dr. Trista Keating - Because of Winn-Dixie – Kate DiCamillo

Natalie – The Places You Will Go - De. Seuss

Paul Welch – The Giving Tree – Shel Silverstein

Dakota - “Anything” - Robert Munsch

Adult Books

Dr. Patricia Miller – EVE - by Cat Bohammon

Natalie – Harry Potter – The Philosophers Stone

Tanja – The Dance of Intimacy – Harriet Lerner

Raelene – His Needs Her Needs – Willard F. Harley Jr.

Maria – The Body Keeps the Score- Dr. Bessel Vander Kolk

Paul Welch – The Prophet – Kahlil Gibran

Vince – Notes from the Underground – Fyodor Dostoevsky


Paul Welch – Curry Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and cut into 1 1/2-2 inch chunks

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil1

  • 3/4 teaspoons curry powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste

  • 1-2 tbsp of honey, as desired


  1. Cube the sweet potatoes, toss well in all of the ingredients except for honey.

  2. 2. Preheat oven at 450 degrees. Put baking sheet with parchment paper in oven during preheat. Once preheated, carefully remove baking sheet from oven and spread sweet potatoes over sheet, ensuring all cubes are in contact with tray.

  3. Roast or 20 minutes. Stir vegetables and continue to roast for 10-20 more minutes until tender inside and crisp on outside. Remove from oven and drizzle with honey. Serve warm.

Katie Harry - Gingerbread People

  • 3/4 cup of softened butter

  • 3/4 cup of firmly packed brown sugar

  • 1 pkg butterscotch jello pudding/pie filling

  • 1 egg

  • 2 1/4 cups of flour

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger

  • 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon


  1. Beat butter, sugar and dry pudding mix in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg; beat until well blended. Combine remaining ingredients. Gradually add to pudding mixture, beating well after each addition; cover. Refrigerate 1 hour or until dough is firm.

  2. Preheat oven to 370°F. Place dough on lightly floured surface; roll out and cut into gingerbread shapes.

  3. Bake 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Alexis – Easy Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad with Maple Balsamic Dressing

  • 4 cups halved Brussel sprouts, stems removed

  • 2 cups chopped sweet potato

  • 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced

  • 2 Tbs avocado oil, can use olive oil

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • ¼ tsp black pepper

  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries

  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts

  • ¼ cup goat cheese

For the maple balsamic dressing:

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup

  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

  • 1 pinch salt and pepper, or to taste  


  1. Preheat oven to 475 F. Arrange the halved Brussel sprouts, chopped sweet potatoes, and thinly sliced shallot on a baking sheet. Drizzle with avocado oil and toss to coat.

  2. Add garlic powder, salt and pepper and toss once again to coat the vegetables. Transfer the baking sheet to the preheated oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, giving everything a toss halfway through.

  3. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by adding all dressing ingredients to a sealable container (like a mason jar). Seal the jar and shake it until everything is well-combined. Set aside.

  4. When the veggies are done, remove from the oven and sprinkle with dried cranberries, chopped walnuts, and crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle with the maple balsamic dressing and serve immediately!                

The true essence of the holidays lies not just in the act of giving but in creating moments that foster connection, generosity of time, and joy. This year let’s embrace the spirit of generosity by gifting presents that continue to delight and make a positive impact long after the holiday decorations are packed away.

During the holiday season we recognize, the contrast of many emotions and experiences are within the people’s lived experience.  Besides the vulnerability of going into each day is the bravery that exists, within each of us.

We wish you all good health, moments of connection and a generous serving of kindness.  We are grateful to continue to provide our services to Calgary and beyond.  Our staff looks forward to seeing you in 2024.  

Regards, the Calgary Therapy Institute and Acorn Psychology.

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