I am as terrible at wrapping presents as I used to be at cooking. But this year, things are changing.
Two big things have happened so far, and it’s not even Christmas Eve. First, I was allowed to stir the pot of toffee cooking on the stove. (Toffee: boiled sugar and other unhealthy things, poured onto a pan with chocolate melted on top and then hardened outside in the snow. I’d provide the recipe but it’s too dangerous).
Let me rephrase that: I was allowed to stir the boiling vat of candy threatening to scald your hands and stick to your skin with the pain of a thousand darkening grains of sugar. It took two years of cooking and a piece in the New York Times for my mother to allow me within a three-foot vicinity of the pot. (Okay, this might be a bit of embellishment. She probably would have let me do this many years ago if I had shown the interest and caution that it deserves). So, I stirred the toffee. Now all I need is a candy thermometer and I can make it myself. If I have the guts to do it. I’ll keep you posted next year.
The second big thing that happened so far this holiday season: I actually listened to advice. Years ago family attempted to teach me how to wrap gifts neatly. But I, proud of my misshapen and overly taped gifts, refused to listen and placed my gifts under the tree in a big huff.
That being said, some small part of my brain retained the knowledge and this year, while wrapping a large box, I remembered that I could pull the sides out rather than crumpling them in, much like neatly tucking in the sheets of a freshly-made bed. I tried it and found I obtained a crisp fold that required only two pieces of tape, rather than the usual seven per side. I still used three just to be safe.
Stirring toffee and heeding advice about gift-wrapping. I think I’m ready for Christmas.