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C hristmas tends to be pretty busy at Restorations Second Stage Homes, with year-end fundraising, holiday gatherings with our Peer Advocacy participants, and regularly scheduled appointments to address the needs and goals of those living at Nancy’s House, a long-term transitional home for survivors of sexual exploitation and trafficking.

What those of us who work at Restorations look forward to every Christmas season is the annual tradition of our “Sleep Tight” day. This day has roots from an annual fundraiser that a supporter, Meaghan Martin, used to host around November. She hosted this event where everyone showed up at a beautiful, fancy venue in their pajamas, and funds raised were given to Restorations. In 2020, in addition to the global pandemic, Meaghan moved out of the region. With Sleep Tight near and dear to both Meaghan’s and Restorations’ hearts, Meaghan gave us permission to continue her event concept for our own fundraising initiatives. This concept has not fit within our own fundraising strategies, but here at Restorations we loved the idea of a pajama event way too much to let it go entirely.

Hence, our Christmas Sleep Tight day was born! Leading up to Christmas, staff celebrate the season by showing up at work on “Sleep Tight” day in pajamas, and we have a casual work day—sometimes with computers on our laps, sometimes not—with lots of good food and Christmas movies. Last year, our first year with residents at Nancy’s House, we started sharing this day with those living in our residential program.

Sleep Tight day is meant to be a day to give our hardworking, dedicated staff a break, so our day usually consists of takeout pizza to keep things simple. We just come as we are, usually weary from the season, and enjoy each others’ company, eat good food, and take delight in festivities. However, at home, my family really enjoys homemade pizza night, so here is a recipe I’ve adapted for my family.

Featured recipe

Lucking Family Pizza Dough


  • 1 ⅓ cups water
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons bread machine yeast
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal


  • If using a bread machine: add ingredients (except for cornmeal) to the machine bread pan in order as per manufacturer’s instructions. Set to “Dough” cycle.
  • If using a stand mixer: proof yeast by warming water to about 100-110 degrees F (it should be warm but not hot) and adding sugar and yeast. Wait for the mixture to look foamy and then add remaining ingredients (salt, olive oil, flour, garlic powder, and onion powder) to the stand mixer bowl, except cornmeal. 
    • Mix slowly until dough comes together (if too sticky, slowly add more flour until dough forms a ball).
    • Remove dough from bowl and coat bowl with a touch of cooking spray or olive oil. Return dough to the bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a tea towel, and let dough rise for about one hour in a warm location.
  • Once the dough has risen, lightly grease a baking sheet/pizza pan and sprinkle with cornmeal. If you want to be really fancy, use a pizza stone!
  • Roll out dough on a floured surface.
  • Once rolled out to desired thickness, place the dough on the baking sheet, and let it rest for 10-15 minutes (or, if you’re pressed for time like I usually am, don’t bother letting it rest!)
  • Add toppings of your choice (see some of my family’s favourites below!)
  • Bake at 400°F until done, approximately 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of toppings. After removing from the oven, let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving (otherwise the hot cheese is more likely to slip off the pizza!).

Some Lucking family favourite toppings

  • Dill pickle pizza (trust me!!!): ranch salad dressing sauce base with dill pickle slices topped with marble cheese and parmesan.
  • Honey garlic pizza: honey garlic sauce base with chicken, favourite veggies (we like mushroom, onion, and broccoli), and cheese. 
  • Picky kid pleaser: tomato sauce base (or just some olive oil like Amy’s preference until just this past year) topped with cheese and generous sprinkle of garlic salt.
  • Shawarma pizza: I have not made this at home, but shawarma pizza from a local pizza joint is a Restorations’ staff favourite for our Sleep Tight day!

This recipe and reflection comes from RCA Global Mission missionaries as they share Christmas traditions from around the world. Enjoy these other holiday flavors and traditions:

Jennifer Lucking

Jennifer Lucking is amissionary with the Reformed Church in America, serving as the executive director ofRestorations Second Stage Homes, an organization that provides safe, specialized, and supportive housing for survivors of sexual exploitation in southern Ontario, Canada.