It's kind of funny to start a holiday post by talking about what I am going to skip this year…. but when there is so much going on during the holiday season, and so many things that we'd like to do with and for our families… I think that it is important to step back and give some consideration to what can come off of the “to-do” list. So here are a few things that I am skipping this holiday season:
1. I am cheating on the gingerbread houses
For the past few years, I have worked hard to bake homemade gingerbread pieces that we then assemble together to create our gingerbread houses. Last year we had an especially challenging time, because the gingerbread I baked was too soft- and the darn pieces wouldn't stay together. My husband ended up creating cardboard houses that we then “glued” the gingerbread pieces to with royal icing. So we invested hours into this project before the first piece of candy decoration was ever attached.
I've since come to the realization that my kids prefer a soft gingerbread cookie over a hard gingerbread house when it comes to snack-time anyway. Which is probably why we rarely ever eat the actual gingerbread house. So why the heck am I spending hours making one from scratch? The real fun of gingerbread houses is in the decoration anyway! And stealing little pieces of candy while you are executing your design, right? So this year, I am using a “cheat”… a plastic gingerbread house!
I found these online at Candy Cottage…. and each kit comes with a 4 pack of mini-houses for $19.99…. so each of the kids and even Steve and I can decorate our own house! Then after the holidays, I will simply soak the plastic houses in hot water, discard any remaining candy, and put those plastic boxes away until next year when I can use them all over again! How great is that?
2. I am baking ALOT less cookies!
Usually I am doing fairly well managing the stress level of the holiday season, right up until that last weekend when I attempt to bake dozens and dozens of cookies. I might make 10 different kinds of cookies and around 120-150 cookies of each type. All in the desire to give away some of this deliciousness to friends, neighbors, teachers, bus drivers, and co-workers as a holiday treat. But this year, I am changing it up a bit. I am still going to make 6-8 different kinds of cookies- but only 1-2 batches of each kind. And these cookies will be eaten only by family members. To make things a little easier for me, I am going to make just one kind of holiday treat to give away to other important people in our life- something that is delicious and simple to make in large batches. Perhaps my Mom's Christmas Mix or maybe Peppermint Bark. I haven't decided for sure yet…. but I plan to keep it simple and fast!
3. I will not over-commit my time
One of the things that can really topple my “balance scale” is when I sign up to bake cupcakes for my 2nd grader's holiday party, volunteer to bring in the donuts for the teacher's appreciation breakfast, and offer to host our monthly book club meeting- all in the weeks right before Christmas. This is going to be the year that I will not stretch myself to do just “one more thing” for “one more party”. Instead I will politely sit back, and keep my fingers crossed that someone else jumps in to volunteer this time. And I am learning…. if I am not the first to sign up… someone else usually does. (And if not… well, then of course I'll help!).
What are you going to skip this holiday season? Please leave a comment here below, or link up if you've decided to join me for our Getting Ready for the Holidays “Blog Party”!