Organizing Your Way to a Simple Christmas: Baking

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source: soaerang

source: soaerang

Today is day nine in our two-week Christmas series: Organizing Your Way to a Simple Christmas.

Holiday baking is yet another aspect of Christmas that I love. I’m not a great cook, but I make some pretty yummy baked goods, and I love to make cookies, chocolate-dipped pretzels and other treats for friends, families, neighbors, etc. The cookies above are just one of the amazing creations of a good friend of mine, and not something I could ever pull off. However, what my baking lacks in creativity and adorableness, it usually makes up for in taste (I say usually because there is the fact that I ruined all three pies I contributed to last year’s Thanksgiving dinner…).

One of the great things about holiday baking is how much of it can be done ahead of time. Most cookies freeze well, meaning you can start now — before holiday plans begin to fill up your days and weekends — and have yummy, homemade cookies throughout the season.

Planning Your Holiday Baking

Now is a great time to begin planning all of your holiday baking because manufacturers are putting out more coupons on baking ingredients and stores are putting these same items on sale. You could stock up on common ingredients without planning ahead, of course, but you can make the most of sales without overbuying by taking a few minutes to plan first.

To start, look at your Gift List. Who are you planning to bake for? Do you have an idea of what you plan to bake or do you need to start looking for recipes and ideas? Have you decided how you will package any cookies/candy you make (which will help you estimate the quantity for each as well)?

Begin filling out your Christmas Baking Planner, noting any ingredients or other supplies you’ll need to get. Once you have a basic plan in place, add your baking to your Christmas Calendar. You may decide to set aside a whole weekend to do all of your baking or to spread it out over several weeks. Either way, make sure it’s all on the calendar.

Tips for Holiday Baking

Here are a few more tips to help you simplify your holiday baking:

:: Check your supplies. Double check that you have all of the ingredients for each recipe — and in the quantities you need — before you start. Surely I’m not the only one who has gotten halfway through a recipe only to realize someone has used up half of the eggs and now I don’t have enough!

:: Use parchment paper. If you’re making a lot of cookies at once, line your cookie sheets with parchment paper so you can quickly slide the cookies off and put a new batch in the oven.

:: Make a game plan for your baking days. Look at prep times, bake times, etc. For example, Shaina from Food for My Family suggests making dough that needs to chill first so that you can work on other cookies while it chills. She also suggests starting with the cookies that bake at the lowest ingredient so that you can increase the temperature in your oven as you go rather than having to wait on it to cool down.

:: Clean up as you go. As Shaina says, it’s much easier to clean up gooey messes than to wait until they’re hard and crusty! Aimee from Under the High Chair recently shared her “clean as you go” method on Simple Mom as well.

:: Prepare your packaging ahead of time. Shaina also suggests packing your cookies for delivery right away rather than storing them in larger containers and having to divide them up later.

Today’s task: Begin filling out your Christmas Baking Planner. Print out or gather any recipes you need and store them in a sheet protector in your home management notebook. Make a shopping list of the ingredients you need to buy.

Do you do a lot of holiday baking? Do you make the same favorites every year or prefer to try new recipes?

About the Author

Mandi Ehman

Hi. My name is Mandi and I’m an organizing junkie. I’m also a wife, and Momma to four little girls (5, 3.5, 2 and a new baby!). I've worked at home since our oldest was a baby, and like a lot of other moms, my life is a constant balancing act of caring for my family and my home, meeting my obligations and finding time for hobbies in there somewhere. Oh, yeah, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m somewhat of a kitchen dunce and I only like to pretend that I’m crafty. Read more here!

6 Responses to “ Organizing Your Way to a Simple Christmas: Baking ”

  1. Great tips, Mandi. I’m already making my baking lists for the holidays!
    Aimee´s last blog ..The Beef Chronicles: Classic Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding My ComLuv Profile


  2. this post is making me hungry! I’ll have to check out that list, i usually have one in my head but always forget something!
    Bekki´s last blog ..We’re not moving… My ComLuv Profile


  3. I was going to start making my list so this is really helpful! Thanks.


  4. In the past few years I have started doing a lot of holiday baking using favorite recipes I grew up with, however, each year I try at least one or two new recipes that have cute holiday themes.


  5. I have hosted an Annual Christmas Baking Day with a great group of friends for about 6 years now. We have it down; some bring dough already mixed so they just have to bake, some have baked cookies ahead or made something like fudge (that is gone first!!), others do no bake recipes and some didn’t have any time to make ahead so they are doing the whole thing. Then we divide the bounty! We make a day of it, from 9 to 6. I have some lunch, usually the girls will contribute snacks etc. We end up with loads of baking ready for our families and for entertaining. It is great fun and something we all look forward to.


  6. I will start deciding what I will bake soon, then make an ingredient list. Will get everything in the house and then I schedule a week in early December where I plan to bake a batch each night…..usually no more than 5 different kinds and I choose by ease, so they aren’t necessarily “Christmasy”….but most folks do not ever turn down a homemade cookie. I have buckets with lids I use each year and put them in the garage where it’s cool and make up plates as I go. To plate them, I use dishes I get at garage sales….they are nice and stiff and plastic wrap adheres to them great. Then, I just leave the dish.


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