This post was sponsored by The Hershey Company and contains affiliate links: see disclosure
Although the vast majority of us enjoy freshly baked Christmas cookies and treats during the holidays, let’s face it: sometimes baking them feels like one more thing to add to your already bursting at the seams calendar.
If the thought of holiday baking is making you feel overwhelmed, here are 5 tips that can help you turn holiday baking from one more Christmas stress to something you and your family can enjoy.
5 Ways To Take The Stress Out Of Holiday Baking
1. Have each family pick their favorite homemade treat
I gave up on baking every classic Christmas treat years ago. I found myself tossing stale cookies on New Year’s day thinking of the hours wasted in the kitchen–plus the money that I put into the ingredients.
I noticed that certain items got tossed more than others and I figured the best way to stop the tossing was simply to ask everyone in our family what their number one favorite Christmas cookie or treat was.
2. Make just one treat at a time
Once I knew each family member’s favorite treat, I then decide rather than having one baking day that required clearing hours on my calendar I would simply bake one double batch of each treat at a time. I start with gingerbread the day after Thanksgiving and end with sugar cookies baked the day before Christmas Eve (so Santa can enjoy one).
Combining this tip with number one means I no longer throw out stale cookies and I don’t have to find a full day to bake. I simply bake an hour here or there as the time appears and I find this a lot less stressful.
3. Stick to bringing simple, no-bake treats to holiday gatherings
I have a list of 6 or so crowd favorite, no-bake treats that take minutes to prepare. I try to keep our cupboard stocked with the ingredients to make 2 or 3 of them at all times during the busy holiday season so that if a child tells me, “Mom, I forgot to tell you there is a class party tomorrow and I am supposed to bring something to share.” I can pass the child the ingredients and tell them to make it themselves or make it with them.
Here are our top 3, favorite, quick, no-bake Christmas treats
- Simple fudge–takes under 3 minutes to make
- Chocolate truffles–dip or roll them in whatever your crowd loves
- Peanut butter balls–our family recipe is a bit healthier than most using natural peanut butter & powdered milk
4. Let other family members help
Yes, you read the above right, my children often make the holiday treats on their own. My children are 13 years old and up and over the years I have gradually shown them how to make the Christmas treats they love.
When they were younger I had them help by grabbing the ingredients and placing them on the counter for me. Or unwrapping the Hershey’s kisses to put on top of the peanut butter blossoms. I gave them simple, age appropriate tasks that grew as they grew and now, unless I want to enjoy the relationship building time gained by working in the kitchen with them–which I often do–they can do a lot of the Christmas baking all by themselves.
There were times when they were little that having them help was stressful for me, but as the years have gone by I love the bonding time that working in the kitchen with those you love can provide. Just this year my daughter and I enjoyed an evening of rolling out gingerbread dough and creating gingerbread men together.
5. Enjoy ready made holiday treats
Some holiday seasons can be more stressful than others. There can be years when you just added a new baby, a loved one recently passed away, or perhaps your family just moved and are trying to settle in. Whatever the added stress might be caused by, know that it is okay to just skip the Christmas baking altogether and grab ready made Christmas treats instead.
Right now you can pick up a 20 count box exclusively at Walgreen’s and when you buy any 2 participating HERSHEY’S KISSES products your get 1000 Walgreens Balance Rewards points (see store for full details offer valid until December 27/2015).
What tips would you add to my list on how to avoid Christmas baking stress?
If you found this post to be useful, make sure you don’t miss my latest posts! Have them delivered to your inbox by signing up for my weekly newsletter. Get to know the blogger behind the blog by following me on Facebook or Instagram.