The holiday season is here. If you’re a foodie (like me) that means it’s officially baking season. If you love the smell of holiday baking and digging into a plate of beautiful Christmas cookies (who doesn’t?) but get a bit overwhelmed at the whole process – these tips are for you.
10 Simple Steps to take for a Stress-Free Holiday Baking Season
1. Clear off the counters
There’s no doubt about it – holiday baking is a messy process. Do yourself a favor and clear off the counters as much as possible. Relocate larger items temporarily. Clutter-free surfaces will not only give you room to work, but will make clean-up that much easier. Ever tried to clean up loose flour, or batter that has sprayed off the beaters? Enough said!
2. Purge the pantry and spice cabinet
Now is the perfect time to get rid of anything that has expired or has been opened since who-knows-when (especially baking items). Spices should still smell fresh. If not – toss them out too. Make a list of everything tossed and add to your master shopping list (see below). If you haven’t already done so, create a “baking” section in the pantry. This will make it super easy to find what you need on baking day.
3. Gather recipes
This is the fun part. Pull out your tried-and-true book, favorite cookbooks or magazines, or hop online and dream big. Then, go back through your selections and whittle down to a realistic list. Note: don’t go overboard adding too many new, untried recipes to the mix.
4. Plan and calendar baking day(s)
Take a look at what you’ve decided to bake. How far in advance can you make each recipe? Can you pull it all off in a single day? Or would it be better to bake in stages? Whatever you decide – block out time on your calendar rather than trying to squeeze it in on the fly.
5. Check for tools and bakeware needed
Go through all your recipes and list out exactly what tools and bakeware are needed. Make a list of any items you’re missing and add to your master shopping list.
6. Decide on packaging
If your treats are to be given as gifts, think ahead about how you’d like to package them. Pretty packaging is often a gift in itself. A little bit of creative planning can turn the simplest treat into a memorable gift. Create a list of all the supplies you’ll need for this part of your project.
7. Create an ingredient list
Take your first recipe and list every single ingredient and quantity needed (even if you already own the item). Now take the 2nd recipe and add new ingredients and quantities not already on the list, while simply increasing the quantity needed of an item already listed. Repeat for every recipe. Doing this will give a clear picture of exactly what you need and, most importantly, how much of everything you need. Now you can go back through the list and cross off anything you already own.
8. Create a master shopping list
Simply combine your ingredient list, tools and bakeware needed, and packaging supplies needed. This should eliminate multiple or last-minute shopping trips for forgotten items.
9. Make a plan for delivering your treats
Yes, it needs to be said … follow-through and be sure everyone actually gets to enjoy your hard work. Don’t assume you’ll have a chance to share your goodies “when you see” each other. The holidays are busy for everyone and plans change. Make a call to see when you can stop by to drop off your gift. This will lessen the chance of hungry elves dipping in and eating treats intended for someone else!
10. Get organized for next year
Don’t recreate the wheel every year. Save favorite recipes in a holiday binder (physical or online). Make notes about what worked, what didn’t. Log ideas you’d like to try but didn’t get a chance to on this round. Next year will be a breeze.
Take these simple steps and you should have a fun, stress-free holiday baking season.
Hi, I’m Kim Cossette Andre, owner of The Organized Approach. I work with busy, overwhelmed women, just like you, who strive to be organized but simply need a helping hand to get there. Ready to tackle your organizing goals? Schedule a free call!