The holidays! How about ’em, eh? Oh my. Really good stuff. Friends, family, food, festivities – so many F words to enjoy.
This year I really had my act together heading into December. I don’t want to brag, but I began my gift shopping on Cyber Monday and scored some deep discounts (I feel like such a powerful consumer when I use the term deep discount). I was riding high on BOGO fumes and feeling pretty invincible – and it was only November 28th!
In hindsight I realize this early success gave me a false sense of security about my holiday preparedness. I held it together for about a week but the wheels started to fall off around Dec. 10th when I attempted to bake a holiday goodie. I use the term ‘bake’ loosely – I made rice krispie wreaths.
Wreaths were my mother’s hallmark holiday treat for the same reason I love them – it doesn’t involve the oven and there are only 3 ingredients.
The pinnacle of the wreath, as everybody knows, is the candy berries. But when I went to open our brand new jar of red hots (aka cinnamon imperials if you are royalty), I was alarmed to discover the freshness seal had already been broken. For the love of Santa! We couldn’t possibly use them. Who knows what kind of depraved individual had laced the candy jar with poison?!
I threw the jar in the trash, gave my kids a lesson on the importance of food safety, and for the first time in holiday history, we had berry-less wreaths. The disappointment was palpable as we realized that without the berries, they were just sad green circles.
I went to three stores the next day looking for more red hots and could not find them to save my life. Just as I was about to cancel Christmas I remembered – I WAS THE ONE who opened the first jar of red hots. In my holiday haste I forgot that I tasted them right after I bought them to be sure they would be wreath-worthy.
Son of a snowman!
I sped home, put on rubber gloves, and dug that candy jar out from the bottom of the garbage. I wiped it down with Clorox, but just in case any raw chicken juice seeped inside, I ate two candies and waited for death.
When I was still alive 12 hours later, I excitedly prepared to add the berries to the wreaths. Then I discovered that there was only one wreath left. ONE WREATH. So I bedazzled it in berries and ate that damn thing myself.
At this point I was exhausted and it was only December 12th. I clawed my way through the class parties, teacher gifts, piano recital, Santa pictures, social events and limped to the finish line.
Then I remembered that my daughter’s birthday is December 26th. Every year! How am I never prepared for this!? I extended last minute party invites to a few of her friends, but it turns out some people want more than 12-hours notice. Pfff.
We still had a nice, albeit small, party which was saved by my husband’s culinary prowess. He is my polar opposite in the baking department. Whereas I nearly die trying to make wreaths, he pulled off this ambitious Rapunzel cake and earned the respect of kids and adults alike.
Other holiday highlights include this tiny piece of salmon my mom saved in my fridge.
My mom expresses her love for her children by cleaning their kitchens when she sees a mess. The holidays are filled with opportunities for her to sneak clean. It’s mildly horrifying and I always tell her not to, but she managed an attack one day when I left the house. She puts any morsel of uneaten food in a baggie. No cracker too stale. No carrot too small. Baggie. It. Up.
Mom is no longer in town but I carry this salmon around in my purse to remember her by. Just kidding – I ate it, along with half of a pickle, 2 olives and a spoonful of cheese dip. Happy New Year!