Tuesday's Tip: Start Now - FamilyEducation

Tuesday's Tip: Start Now

November 02,2010
I was in Target last Wednesday, which if your calendar eludes your right now, was days before Halloween. In October. Holiday music was playing and all the Halloween items were on sale or clearance. In the One Spot (my favorite place to find good treats for long holiday car rides) there were more Christmas items than Halloween and throughout the store there were holiday items everywhere. The local strip mall, a full week ago, hung their “Season’s Greetings” banners, resplendent with red poinsettias and bows. In this same strip mall there is a Post Office, which has all their holiday stamps on display, ready for purchase. The holiday season is, for all intents and purposes, upon us. Now don’t get me wrong, I am old school with our holiday decorations and celebrations, preferring to wait until after Thanksgiving (a great holiday that sometimes gets a mere brief pause between Halloween and Christmas) to do almost anything “Christmas-y.” Note I wrote “almost anything.” I have two exceptions to this rule: Christmas shopping, as I do this throughout the year when I see items on sale or that are particularly perfect for an individual. My second exception? Preparing my kitchen for the holidays. Over the next several weeks I plan to share some tips for helping prepare your kitchen and your family for the holiday cooking onslaught. This week, I share my Easy Peasy Holiday Kitchen Preparation Tip #1: Stock Up Now. I do not have the specifics of our Thanksgiving Dinner menu quite yet or a menu for Christmas Day Dinner, but there are certain things I know we will bake/cook/prepare this holiday season. For the Sweet Pea Family, our “it-just-wouldn’t-be-the-holidays-if-we-didn’t-serve-this-dish” list includes such items as Cranberry Salsa, a Smoked Turkey, Fennel Sausage Stuffing, Pumpkin Pie and a Fruit Cobbler at Thanksgiving; Gingerbread, Meringues, Peanut Butter Kisses and Caramel Corn to share as Christmas Gifts; Chocolate Yule Log for Christmas Eve; and Egg Casserole on Christmas Morning. With these ideas and the other items that are perennial holiday favorites in mind, I start planning now, yes, now for the staples we need to make these items. Sure, certain items such as fresh produce and dairy should not be purchased yet, but things like butter (it freezes well), flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda and powder, salt, spices, canned items, chocolate, peanut butter and crackers can all be bought over the next week or so and stored away for the time you are ready to use it. If you stock up now on these pantry items, you will save yourself from the moments I have had in my past, in which you run to the grocery store frantically to get one or more items from your recipe list. So check off Easy Peasy Holiday Kitchen Preparation Tip #1 from your list and come back next week for the second step to a little less stress holidays SPC