At the best family holiday potluck I ever went to, the kids made all the food. My sons were six and seven at the time, and weren't allowed to use sharp knives or the stove, as was the case for most of the other children in our little after school collective. We found easy, no-cook recipes that they could make with very little assistance from their grown-ups.
The variety of dishes we wound up with was hilarious and festive — probably not the most balanced meal ever cooked, but nutritional concerns took a back seat to the pride the kids felt in sharing food they had made themselves. The hands-down favorite dish of the evening was this little number:
NO-BAKE HOLIDAY ÉCLAIR CAKE
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 container frozen whipped topping, thawed
3 cups milk
1 package graham cracker squares
1 package prepared chocolate frosting
1 package holiday M&M's
Whisk together the pudding mix, whipped topping, and milk. Arrange as you would a lasagna, with a single layer of graham cracker squares in the bottom of a 13x9 inch baking pan. Drop spoonfuls of the pudding mixture over the crackers, leaving about half in the bowl. Then add another layer of crackers and the remaining mixture. Top with the last of crackers. Spread the frosting over the whole cake, up to the edges of the pan. Place M&M's on the frosting. Cover, and chill at least four hours before serving.
GIVE THIS GIFT
No holiday guide would be complete without the perfect gift recommendation. I'm bestowing this honor on Santa Rosa-based Calliope Designs's personalized holiday ornaments. The company has been making them for over 30 years, and its website specifically states how happy it is to make ornaments for LGBTQ families: "We know that families come in all shapes and sizes and are happy to present ornaments to the gay and lesbian partners and families all over the world." How can you not adore that?
KEEP IT CLASSY
Regardless of if you're having sex alone or with a partner, your sexuality matters. That can mean prioritizing some grown-up time at one of the great sex-ed classes offered by Good Vibrations. I've heard that sometimes attendees leave with a free gift! The only challenge is that classes are during prime "must be at home with the kids" time. How to resolve? Do a childcare swap that includes dinner. One day a week, you host the brood, then later in the week your parent-ally can host. Maybe you can even attend a Good Vibes "Humpday Happy Hour" workshop. Every Wednesday you can find a free sexuality workshop at one of the store's Bay Area locations. Here are two upcoming classes that I highly recommend:
"The Art of Clitoral Stimulation" Dec. 6, 6:30-7:30pm, free. Good Vibrations, 1620 Polk, SF;"50 Shades of Play" Dec. 12, 6:30-7:30pm, free. Good Vibrations, 603 Valencia, SF. (415) 522-5460, www.goodvibes.com
Airial Clark is the Sex-Positive Parent, an East Bay sex educator who teaches workshops on raising kids outside heteronormative models of family. Read more about her work at www.thesexpositiveparent.com