Like it or not, Christmas is just around the corner. Christmas stock is already starting to pop up in some stores and I’m just waiting to hear that first Christmas carol (although as I’m writing this I am watching Holiday Home Makeover with Mr Christmas on Netflix which was my inspiration for this post).
As I’ve spoken about quite frequently, Christmas is less daunting (both from a financial and organisation standpoint when you plan for it early). I’m often talking about this from a shopping perspective, but at the moment, I’m talking about baking. Christmas for me growing up was all about Meringues. My Gran would always make a big batch of Meringues every Christmas using a special recipe (and bless her she’d usually forget about them in the oven and singe a few). She’d then sprinkle half with desiccated coconut and the other half with hundreds and thousands. All the grandkids would make a beeline for the colourful hundreds and thousands option and they were always the first to go. My Gran is no longer really up to baking, so I’ve taken over the tradition of Christmas Meringues (except I put hundreds and thousands on them all!!) which is my contribution to dessert on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations.
I also like to make batches of spiced nuts which I bag up in cellophane bags (the biodegradable kind) and give away as gifts or part of gifts. They are always well received, and I love that they are a great minimalist gift idea. People usually appreciate the time and effort that goes into home made baked goods, particularly those that are time poor. Since I work full time, both of these tasks need to be logistically planned and as a result I’ve already marked on my calendar when these baking activities will be taking place. December is always a busy time with various Christmas related events and social activities and as a result, it’s important to block that time out early on the calendar if you intend on baking anything. Otherwise it’s easy to get to the week of Christmas and realise you have no time to actually achieve anything. This is particularly important when it comes to items that can be prepared in advance. My spiced nuts can be made a couple of weeks before Christmas and stored in air tight containers (I then bag them as required or closer to Christmas day to keep them fresh). The other reason blocking out time is important is to keep others in your household out of the kitchen. My parents’ oven is significantly better than the one in my house and as a result I invade them to execute my Christmas baking, which means I need to let them know well in advance of when I need to borrow their oven.
My meringues are trickier, they need to be made the day before Christmas Eve (usually because I have to work on Christmas Eve unless it happens to fall on the weekend) so it’s important to block this time out early to ensure I don’t make any plans and run out of time.
Planning on a new recipe this Christmas? Now is the time to test it out. Don’t leave it until a week before the big day to try something out for the first time and have it not work out. I’m tempted to try and make gluten and dairy free gingerbread men for the first time, but at the same time I’m worried I might be biting off more than I can chew. They would make a super cute minimalist Christmas gift idea in a pretty (biodegradable of course cellophane bag with a pretty Christmas ribbon!
What are you planning on baking this Christmas? I’m always looking for new inspo!