Price of Christmas Holiday Baking

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Christmas is my most favorite time of the year and always has been. I love the music, the lights, the crowds, and the laughing children. I also love the Christmas baking that I’ll be doing again this week. Every year I spend a lot of time baking Christmas cookies, lots of cookies. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without the cookies I call Mom’s Christmas cookies. All of my Christmas cookies are special to me and I wouldn’t want to give up making any of them. But the cost of my baking supplies keeps going up, up, up.

In addition to baking cookies, I also make miniature cakes and pumpkin bread┬ámade in a bread machine as gifts for co-workers and friends, make dishes to bring to various holiday gatherings, host an extended family Christmas Eve dinner, and have the family over for lunch or dinner on Christmas Day. During December, it feels like I’m at Kroger every day buying something that I need for one of my baking or cooking projects.

I try to stock up on baking supplies early in the season but must have missed the sales this year. I suffered somewhat of sticker shock when I went shopping for sugar and flour this week. I decided to figure out what the cost of all of my baking would be this year. While I had out my trusty notebook, I also checked on the cost of all of my favorites for the Christmas meals I’ll be cooking this year.

When I make cookies, there are 11 varieties I always make for Christmas. One is an old family recipe, passed down on my Mom’s side of the family. For many year, my Dad made these cookies and sent out to each family household but now my sister-in-law has taken over this fun task. These cookies are a rolled shortbread cookie, glazed with confectioner’s sugar glaze, and decorated with colored sugar sprinkles. The family Christmas cookies are the hands-down favorite.

In addition to the family Christmas cookies, I also make jello cookies in both cherry and lime flavors, chocolate crinkles, snickerdoodles, candy cane cookies, galaxy cookies, stuffed stocking cookies, double chocolate dips, gingersnaps, chocolate buried cherry cookies, and thumbprint cookies with Hershey’s kisses instead of jam on top. Most of my recipes make about 3-4 dozen cookies per batch but a couple make more than that. Many years ago, I baked even more cookies than I do now, making numerous batches of each type. The year I remember most was when my youngest two kids were in elementary school and together we baked about 120 dozen cookies, Now it’s usually just a single batch of each recipe. This is because I added the little mini cakes and pumpkin breads into my baking mix. I also added a few homemade candies including buckeyes and something called Oreo balls, both very yummy..

In all, I estimate that I use about 4 bags each of flour and sugar, a bag of brown sugar, 2 bags of confectioner’s sugar, 4 cartons of eggs, 6 pounds of butter, and an assortment of other things including cocoa, jello, vanilla, and many colored sugar and nonpariel sprinkles. The cost of my baking this year will be about $110 total.

For Christmas Eve, we usually have both a small ham and a turkey breast along with an assortment of heavy appetizers. These include meatballs in my special sauce, cocktail franks in BBQ sauce, veggies, chips and dip of various types, and a variety of desserts. There will probably be somewhere between 15-20 people this year for Christmas Eve and the cost will be about $55 total.

I usually bring a tray of cookies, a plate of my special ham biscuits, and a side dish to our company Christmas luncheons. This year we’ll have three different events for Christmas for a total cost of about $25.

Finally, Christmas lunch will be here. This year’s menu will be more or less the same as every year. We’ll have a spiral ham with pineapple glaze, mashed potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese, corn pudding, a vegetable casserole, candied yam casserole, peas or corn, biscuits, toll house pie, and a plate of Christmas cookies. I’ll serve sparkling cider for the kids and adults alike and we’ll also have coffee with our dessert. A good time will be had by all 12-14 of us. If all don’t make it for lunch, we’ll have a second meal for dinner on Christmas night. The cost of Christmas lunch will be about $50.

For all of my holiday baking and cooking this year, I’ll be spending about $240. That’s more than in the most recent previous years but less than in some years. My family and friends are well worth the price.

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