Two days until December and it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to assemble those cookie boxes this year. If you want to! Of course, it’s highly optional, but highly rewarding holiday gifting activity if you choose to do it!
Growing up in small town Indiana as part of a close knit and large extended family, cookie plates were a THING. You knew that Aunt Lee and Aunt Dianne and any number of any family members and friends were going to drop by the house the week before Christmas bearing cookie plates. Everyone had their favorite cookie on the plate and as one of six kids, you had to be quick if you wanted to get one.
Enter my own adulthood and last year I made my own cookie boxes for friends and neighbors down here in Florida. I’m not sure how other people do it, but I started early and it made for a really manageable Christmas cookie timeline that didn’t make me feel overwhelmed.
To do now: make your list of cookies/candies. I did 8 last year and will aim for the same this year. I’ll share recipes in the coming weeks, but I did – caramels, buckeyes, sugar cookies, molasses cookies, peanut butter blossoms, gingerbread, chocolate chunk shortbread, peppermint brownie cookies. I’m switching out a few but will keep most the same because part of the joy is the predictability.
To do each week from now until gifting time: make a couple doughs and stick it in the freezer. Did you know you can freeze cookie dough for up to 3 months? Last year I waited until the week before Christmas and made one dough each night and froze. It wasn’t awful but I think two a week is more manageable and doesn’t take away the joy. I’ll do one on a quiet night during the week and one on the weekend. Wait until the week of to make any candies (caramels, fudge, peppermint bark, candied oranges, etc) as those won’t freeze well. I have my sugar cookie dough in the freezer already and molasses cookies are slated for tonight.
To do at any time leading up to Christmas: find your cookie boxes. This actually gave me some trouble last year, so this year I’ll be scouting ahead. Hobby Lobby and Michaels seem to be the best resources for these little cardboard boxes for small or medium batches. Source your sprinkles and any cute decorations you want to use! Buy early as they sell out quickly. And get the giant cookie sheets. It’s 100% worth not having to do multiple batches and just getting the cookies all in the oven in one go. For your pretty instagram picture, you’re going to want to find a nice wooden box to arrange them all. I found a couple in the dollar spot at Target this year, and last year mine was from Michael’s. Check the jewelry section. They have a little wooden box with compartments that are perfect for cookies.
The night before baking day: put your doughs into the fridge to defrost overnight.
The week of: make your candies, your frostings. Pick up any extra supplies you might need.
The day before: bake your roll out sugar cookies. Stick them in the fridge after baking so that you can decorate them on baking day. You could even get these completely done and also ice them as they’re the most time consuming.
On baking day: set aside much of your day for baking and clean up. You’ve done the hard work! Now you just have to get it all baked and decorated. If you’re not dropping off your cookies on the same day – don’t make the boxes yet. Especially if you’re making a cookie with a peppermint or peanut butter profile. The taste will definitely seep into the other cookies.
Try to gift your cookies asap! The fresher the better!!
I’m going to do another post this week with some suggestions of cookies that are yummy! If it’s your first year, maybe just try a couple cookies and gift them to friends and family. Happy baking season friends!!
Any questions?? Drop them in comments! I