Although I love being in the kitchen, shortly after I became a mother, I resigned myself to being an underachiever with my Christmas Cookies. I love baking -- love it. But a few years ago, amidst all the activity of the holidays swirling around me, I decided that December is not the time to go over-the-top with my baking.
I came to this conclusion by reasoning that R and G need a peaceful, relaxed, happy mom during the holidays, rather than one who was trying to run around the kitchen like a Tasmanian devil, creating confections to wow her family and friends.
As a parent we have enough “have to” and “need to” things on our lists any given day, let alone in December. Once I realized that the thought of endless baking with a definite, date-certain deadline stressed me out, I decided to change my approach.
So what do I do? I keep it simple.
Like most families, we have our repertoire of holiday classics that we have done again and again and again each year. In our home, that means gingerbread cut-out cookies, instead of sugar cookies, peanut butter kisses, Chocolate Chip Kiss Meringues and maybe, just maybe a new one to try, emphasis on the “one.”
This year I also made my dough in November. For a mere one-hour investment, I feel like this simple plan-ahead step saved me a lot of stress this month. Without all the extra holiday activity and distractions, I was able to calmly go to the grocery store to collect all my ingredients in one easy trip. Then one weeknight, when the mood struck, I whipped up the dough and froze it in batches.
When R, G, SPH and I were ready to create, the dough was ready, too, making cookie making truly merry, rather than really messy.
I may not be able to pre-make dough every year, but I am seeing the beauty of keeping it simple and have come to the realization that simplicity trumps stress any time, holidays or not.