Hopefully the holiday kitchen preparation tips I shared earlier this month helped in making your Thanksgiving preparations a little less hectic. Now with the big turkey day holiday behind us, it is time to start preparing for Christmas.
Speaking of Christmas preparation, growing up we were never the first ones with our Christmas Tree decorated. My parents preferred to wait until well into December to choose and decorate the family tree. This was a good test of my patience, as I have always been big into holidays and to me, Christmas is the biggest. My patience was tested as I saw tree after tree being illuminated in others’ homes, but it was quelled by the fact that our tree was never the last to go up; my friend Noelle, whose family had a tradition of decorating the tree on her December 19th birthday, assured me of that.
Now that I am the parent, I smile because my boys, especially our 6 year old R, are champing at the bit the second they see Santa Claus close out the Macy’s Day parade, to decorate our house for Christmas. In fact, as I write, our tree is already gracing our home, the result of a shared mom and sons love of Christmas decorating.
With our Christmas decorating largely underway, our next and most tasty Christmas task is to start baking. Yet with our Thanksgiving pies still practically churning in our bellies, I’ve told the boys we will bake cookies in a week or so.
Baking cookies and other confections is a two to three day process in our home, one I will share as my Easy Peasy Holiday Kitchen Preparation Tip #5: Break it Down.
It used to be that I would make the dough, bake the cookies and decorate them in one day. Eager little hands wanting to help and participate along the way have taught me a better way to make cookies. We break it down when baking, doing one task a day until the cookies are complete. This method has so many wonderful benefits: first, it makes the process of baking a whole less overwhelming and time-consuming. As parents, we are busy already, and trying to carve a block of several hours out of a jam packed schedule can be challenging at best. Second, it allows you to savor the process. Third, it is a fun opportunity to enjoy the concept of anticipation.
The best part about breaking down the baking process is that you don’t need two or three consecutive days of free time to make cookies. In fact, we will be making some dough this week to pop into the freezer until next week or later when we do the baking. Once baked, if the cookies need decorating, you can wait a day or two until you are free to do so.
All in all, this approach to baking has really de-stressed cooking baking for our family. I hope it does the same for you!