Plan, Plan, Plan!
November is the perfect time to start making lists! Set up a family list station and spend an evening planning for December. Get the kids to design their Wish Lists and, with your partner, go over travel plans, gift-giving requirements, house decoration ideas, baking needs, Christmas events, kids’ activities and, most importantly your budget. Use a visual guide, such as a journal or spreadsheet to stay on top of everything.
Bake and Freeze
Mince pies are a delicious table setting for any Christmas-themed gathering and an easy gift idea too. Plus, they freeze well for up to three months. Freeze uncooked pies in cling wrap and store in a tin. Or, indulge in a bake-fest and freeze pre-cooked (and cooled) pies by putting a sheet of baking paper between each layer and placing them in a resealable box in the freezer.
It’s just not Christmas without Christmas Pudding! You can make puddings in advance as long as you store them properly in pudding bowls. Add baking paper to the top of the pudding and layer them in cling wrap to keep their shape. When steaming your pudding, you can keep the cling wrap on – just make sure to remove it to serve!
Set up your ball baking station and get rolling just in time for Christmas. Rum balls are a delicious snack or a perfect addition to any tin of homemade goodies to give as gifts. Get creative with your balls. Peanut butter balls, coconut balls, Milo balls and fruit nut balls can all be made now and frozen for later. When freezing, include baking paper in between each layer to keep the balls from sticking to one another.
Whip up some Preserves
Pick up a few extra cute jars and spend an afternoon making jams, chutneys and spreads to give to friends or enjoy as part of your festive feast. With some green or red ribbon, embellishments and a nice handmade note attached to the jar, you’ve got yourself a gift that oozes with Christmas cheer.
You can put pretty much anything in a jar including dry ingredients like our Oatmeal Cookies in a Jar, below.
Recipe in a Jar
Mix 2/3 cup flour, ½ tsp baking soda, ½ tsp ground cinnamon and ¼ tsp salt into a bowl and place in the bottom of the jar. Then layer with 1/3 brown sugar (packed), 1/3 white sugar, ¾ cup choc chips, 1 ½ cup oats and ½ chopped nuts. Seal, decorate and include a card with wet ingredients and instructions with the jar.
Lavender sugar can be substituted for regular sugar in a number of recipes and imparts a subtle floral flavour. Simply add one tsp of dried lavender buds to 1 cup sugar and place in a jar. Stir the ingredients and place a lilac ribbon around the jar.
Mint sugar Scrub
For a non-edible gift idea, make your own sugar scrub. Place coconut oil in a bowl and microwave for 15 seconds. Add all ingredients to the bowl to create a light green mixture. Spoon scrub into a jar and seal. And don’t forget the mint green ribbon!