How Soon to Start?

A reader has asked: Is it too early to start baking for the holidays?

A: It’s never too early to get organized, but aside from fruitcake, which can age successfully for several months, it might be a little early (for example, for cookies). Why not get organized by choosing the recipes you’ll want to prepare and making sure you stock up on all the ingredients (check spices for potency and baking powder for the expiration date)? Verify that you have all the correct pans necessary for the recipes you are making, and shop early for containers, both for storage and for gift giving—the selection will dwindle as we get closer to the holidays.