Christmas with the family sure is a treasure. However, it can also be pretty overwhelming with an abundance of toys, food, animals and extra people in one house at one time. Let me share some of the best kept secrets for a less stressful Christmas season.
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Best Kept Secrets about Christmas Baking and Food
I highly recommend spacing out holiday baking, and gift giving, if possible. We have had joy in planning for a Christmas baking day every year. The past few years it has just been myself and my mother in law, but this year we included my two kids and my great grandmother in law. Each person picks three to four recipes, which is plenty! We swap goodies between all of us, that way we all have a variety. We plan this baking Saturday two to three weekends before Christmas and freeze our goodies for Christmas day.
Generally speaking though, we don’t freeze a lot because we give it away to neighbors, people that do us favors throughout the year, have done chores for us and more. Don’t skimp on plate quality. You’re going to want a heavy duty plate to hold the goodies. We get these plain white oval plates that allow for the goodies to stand out, and are not flimsy. They also fit in a gallon zip bag. When transporting your goodies consider using your stacking cooling racks to help you get multiple plates from point A to point B. During baking day I put together a crockpot of soup for people to help themselves to whenever they have a break between recipes. We cannot wait for the grandkids to actually be able to help us! For now they are good taste testers.
We ordered plain black aprons for the kids and plain black aprons for the adults had a local vinyl printing gal (110 Custom Creations) print the personalized designs on them! She did a wonderful and quick job!
The same day as Christmas baking day we also plan to go see a local light display after eating dinner at a local restaurant. This is mainly because the people that would prepare dinner are baked out! The kids get their Christmas jammies and Christmas books, and we bring a thermos of hot cocoa and disposable cups to fill with hot cocoa. I have found good deals on disposable, cute cups at TJ Maxx and Marshalls, but here’s a good one from Amazon that would work for any season. I think this time schedule works well because then we get the most use out of those books and jammies for the Christmas season.
For Christmas day I recommend making an egg casserole of some sort to bake the morning of. Prep this the night before, and stick it in the fridge. In the days leading up to Christmas Eve you can brown your sausage and bacon and stick it in the fridge. Here’s another secret, I don’t wrap books! It allows the kids to look at something while guests are coming over and I’m finishing up breakfast.
Don’t like eggs, no worries, you can make overnight French toast. This is a crowd pleaser, and always tastes good! You can provide tasty toppings like:
- Berries-strawberries, blueberries, raspberries
- Whipped cream (doubles up as an added bonus for a hot cocoa bar)
- Mini chocolate chips
- Syrup (although, in my opinion, it isn’t necessary)
For lunch, I like to do something that I don’t need to babysit in the kitchen. I turn on a crockpot of soup, like chili, on Christmas Eve, and by morning I turn it down to warm, and it’s ready for whenever. You can dress it up by providing different toppings like:
- Shredded cheese
- Sour cream
- Corn chips
Overall, stick with what you know. If you make a really good meat loaf, pot roast, ham, eggs, pancakes, whatever it is, make that, and be happy knowing it is tasty.
Best Kept Gift Secrets
Here is THE BEST, overall Christmas hack I have come to develop over the years. My sister in law always told me to bring gifts in a hard-sided laundry basket, then you have a place to bring home gifts. Which is brilliant! However, I have found one even better! Bring your gifts in a plastic tote with latchable handles and a lid.
This is a great idea for a few reasons. The children cannot see what is inside, so they are not tempted to open presents early. You can hand out gifts when YOU want, and be in control of who opens what and when. You can put gifts inside that you don’t want them to open at grandma and grandpa’s house, you can stack stuff on top of it, AND you can use it to keep babies from entering unwanted spaces, if you don’t have a baby gate that fits the doorway.
Best Kept Tree and Greenery Secrets
We bought a prelit Christmas tree. I love the light that it brings when the days are so short, and I tend to leave it plugged in all day when we’re home. Therefore, I think I burnt out the tree a bit quicker than I would have liked. Have no fear though. Another post will be coming soon about what to do with that burnt out Christmas tree. Do NOT pitch your prelit Christmas tree!
If you’re doing a real tree, keep in mind goats LOVE real trees that haven’t been flocked. I highly encourage you to connect with your local goat farmer, and dispose of them that way.
I love porch pots and live wreaths and the smell that they have. However, they can be costly. I’ll be adding a tutorial on how to make your own door swag and porch pots for under $20.
As with most holidays everything is on sale after the holidays. I have been keeping a running list on my phone using the ColorNote app. I have lists going on there all of the time-from groceries, to shopping lists, to gifts for nieces and nephews, as well as one for the Christmas season. I do not need another thing to do, however, I like to remember from year to year what went well, what I’d like to do instead, etc. The ColorNote app allows me to write down things and stay organized. Do your Christmas decor shopping, shopping for stockings, wrapping paper, and artificial Christmas tree AFTER Christmas is over. Your bank account will be thankful you waited.
I hope these tips help you with making the holiday season a bit less stressful. Spend time with family. Work smarter, not harder. Subscribe to my email list for updates on posts, and more!