To be honest, I hate going out during the holiday season. No, strike that. I hate having to go out during the holiday season. The occasional outing to checkout sparkling lights at night or look at holiday decorations is fine, but I dread having to deal with overcrowded stores and cram-packed parking lots. And try to squeeze my shopping cart through crowded grocery store aisles at the last minute? No thank you. Instead, I like to make only a few major trips to the grocery store during the holiday season. Not only does this save me time (courtesy of less trips to the store and spent standing in long lines), but it saves my sanity and money. Additionally, should winter weather make getting out of the house too dangerous, no worries, we’re already well prepared to hunker down at home and enjoy some albeit forced family togetherness.
So, what exactly does it mean to “holiday stock” your pantry? It’s simple. For some, it may simply mean having a larger supply of your ordinary favorites and staples on hand to simply spread out the necessary treks to the store. For others, it may also mean picking up seasonal favorites to add to your shelves. For some easy-to-implement suggestions to help get your pantry holiday stocked, check out the ideas below:
Keep a larger supply of baking staples on hand. Flour and butter, for example, not only keep well traditionally, but can even be stored in the freezer. Additionally, baking ingredients are always on sale during this time of year, making it an ideal time to stock up while there’s savings. And if you’ve got children at home and a snow day strikes, you’ve got a great way to keep idle hands busy and little tummies happy through baking!
Don’t forget to pick up favorite warm beverages. When the weather’s cold, wet or even snowy, there’s nothing better than curling up with a favorite warm beverage. Anticipate this well in advance and stock your pantry shelves with hot chocolate mix, teas or mulling spice. Knowing they’re already at home just waiting for you to warm them up makes it much easier to avoid the allure of paying an arm and leg for a barista prepared beverage. You’ll also be company-ready should guests drop in.
Have some go-to meals at-the-ready. With the colder weather when we spend more times in doors, comes sniffles, sneezes and, worse, the flu. Prepare yourself in advance for the times when you’re feeling under the weather or just plain exhausted by having a number of meals at the ready courtesy of what’s already in the pantry or prepared in advance and waiting in the freezer. You’ll thank yourself later when you can enjoy a hot cooked meal with very little work instead of forking over a tidy sum of cash for takeout.
Indulge in some special pantry additions to help celebrate the season. Maybe it’s a bag of miniature marshmallows in the pantry or a can of light whip cream in the fridge for topping hot chocolate. Or even some small chocolate mints to melt at the bottom of cups of coffee or hot chocolate or candy canes to use as stirrers that add special holiday flavor, too. Whatever it is, don’t forget to decorate (a.k.a. stock) your pantry with a few special holiday touches, too. They’ll help make meals and treats enjoyed at home that much more special.
Photo credit: Lynda Giddens
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