Saturday, September 29, 2018

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - I'm thinking Holidays already


Before you quickly switch to another blog to read, there is a reason for my early Holiday post!  For one thing, October begins this week and I've always thought Thanksgiving seemed to come immediately afterwards.  I want to take in all the pretty leaves as they change color (hopefully it will be better than last year) but I blink and it is time to purchase food for the Thanksgiving menu.  (It is time if you live in Canada!)

There is also the need to think ahead if we are making any of our gifts.  No matter what a recipe may say, I have found it takes a good two months for vanilla beans in vodka to turn to vanilla extract.  If I want to make Christmas cards, I must start now to have an enjoyable process rather than throw things together because they need to go in the mail next week.

Tempus does fugit...

Most of my Holiday planning is budget related.  When the kids were young, I thought of Christmas gifts all year as I would find an item I knew one of them would enjoy.  Sometimes at an arts and crafts show in the summer, or visiting the amusement park's gift shops on vacation, or simply noticing when a new book by a favorite author had arrived at the book store.  It helped my budget and allowed more thought to go into each gift.

My Holiday planning this year is a lot about baking and what I need for those recipes.  So when I do my usual stock up shopping for the month next week, this time I will add items like butter for the freezer, perhaps a bottle of vanilla (since I'm not making my own from scratch this year), a bag of dried cranberries, etc.

When I do most of my grocery stock up like I do, that means there are only three "shopping days" until Christmas gift season.  So I will be stretching out the baking budget over three months.  Last year I ended up doing very little baking compared to past years.  However, because butter freezes so well, I was happy to have extra for baking well into Spring.  The dried fruit I didn't use lasted and I still have frozen cranberries.  Nothing goes to waste.

I've been on a spice and herb replenishing task for awhile already.  It is far cheaper to replace one or two each month than have to buy a lot during the Holidays.  Before I shop next week, I will check the yellow pantry to see if any of what I call "Christmas spices" need to be replaced.  I replaced my Kroger tin of apple pie spice a couple months ago already (I like that spice blend more than the pumpkin pie spice blend for most recipes.)

As far as the few crafts I still work on, I took advantage of post-Christmas sales for card making supplies last year and made a couple small purchases at the preseason sales at Hobby Lobby this year.  So all, if not most of the items I need are on the shelves already, many purchased at 50% off.

I'm hoping this post is not a loud wake up call but instead a gentle reminder that the Holiday season is just around the corner.  A lot can be accomplished a little at a time to save the budget and one's sanity.  Not that it has ever been an issue here.  No, never.  ;)

11 comments:

Colleen said...

HI, I just bought five pounds of butter for the freezer for
Christas cookie baking. Thank you for the Living the Pantry Lifestyle blog posts. They're my favorite!

~Colleen

gracie said...

You make me want to get going with my Christmas plans! Thank you for the push so I will not hopefully wait until last minute.

Anonymous said...

Dear Brenda ~

As far as I'm concerned, Christmas prep can never start too early ;) I had a 40% off Hallmark coupon this week and went and bought our Christmas cards. I used to buy at least two boxes, but time and distance has unfortunately culled the list. I'm saddened going through the address book and seeing names of friends and family who have passed and realizing that's one less card to send. However when I think of where they are spending Christmas now, it gives a bit of joy. I hope that your prep brings you happiness!

Donna Wilson

Vee said...

There will be little if any baking for me this year so I can relax on that score. Still, I am thinking about Christmas quite a bit. I purchased the first gift last summer, but have some catching up to do. I want the season to be bright and beautiful for the real Gift of Christmas never changes. I always use your advice about what I want the holiday to look like. (I preferred it when I could say “we.”) Thanks for taking us gently into thinking about the season...

Jennifer Bartley said...

Thanks for the reminder! I fully enjoy and look forward to your pantry posts each week!

Melissa said...

Yes, I've started planning and making already also. When I make a small batch of cookies for me and my husband every other week, I freeze the other half of the dough. When the time comes to bake the cookies for the season, the different kinds of dough are thawed and ready to bake and then I have a variety of cookies!

Mama Squirrel said...

Me too!

Suzan said...

I am new yo your blog and I appreciate thinking ahead. Earlier this week I made my list. This end of the year sees many birthdays well as Christmas. I live in the subtropical area of Australia and I have bottled many bottles of strawberry jammer small gifts. I still have to think of things of the young men I have to buy for. Butter has gone up so much this year and I am trying hard to stash some away when the budget allows.

Little Penpen said...

OH, I love Christmas posts!! I need a bottle of vanilla, but wouldn't buy it yet. Does it EVER go on sale??? I'm getting excited about the holidays!

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Apple Pie spice? I'd love to find some of that. It is just the right time to think of holidays. I'm knitting gifts already, and will do baking again for gifts. I love to give books for gifts as well, so I am always checking out used bookstores etc for wanted books. We don't mind if a book is gently used!

Debi said...

I always start thinking about Christmas right about now, in fact I purchased books for our four youngest grandchildren this afternoon. So, I guess I have officially started my Christmas shopping. I try to plan out projects, cardcmaking and baking but somehow, no matter how early I start I am always in a panicked rush the week before Christmas. Maybe this year will be different...