Twelve Easy Steps for Wrapping Perfect Gifts

rawpixel-com-445797You too can have beautifully wrapped holiday gifts without paying department store gift- wrapping prices. Wrapping gifts is not that difficult and is something anyone can learn with a small amount of effort.

1. Get a sturdy box for the gift. You can’t find one? There must be something in the closet from last year. Okay, that one is a bit small, but close enough. Line it with colorful tissue and place your gift inside. Whadda ya mean it popped open? Tape it shut. Good grief! Use more tape this time and make sure it stays shut.

2. Choose colorful paper appropriate for the occasion. Is that crummy stuff some paper you got for free? Measure the paper by gently wrapping it around the box. Leave two extra inches to overlap. Cut the paper evenly.

3. Measure the ends by using the end of the box. The paper should fold to cover the end of the box exactly at both ends. Now trim the sides of the paper. Where are the scissors? How should I know? They are your scissors. Try looking under the box. How can you learn to wrap gifts if you keep losing things?

4. Okay, wrap the box lengthwise and tape the paper tightly. What do you mean it doesn’t reach? I told you leave two extra inches. You forgot? FORGOT??? Repeat Steps 2 and 3. Now wrap the box lengthwise and tape the paper. Double-edged tape is nice and doesn’t show. You don’t have any? That figures.

5. Tuck the ends in on the side and make crisp creases. Fold the bottom flap up and the top flap down, like an envelope. It’s too long? Well, just fold the extra under and tape it. Okay, so it made a lump. So what?

6. Repeat Step 5 for the other end. The paper doesn’t meet? So, that’s why it was too long. Okay, cut a little extra paper off the roll and patch it. You do not have enough paper to start over. Maybe no one will notice.

7. Choose bright ribbon that coordinates with the wrapping paper. Watch out! Cats like to chase loose ribbon. Tie ribbon around box leaving ends long enough to tie the bow. Untie cat from box.

8. To make an easy bow, wrap ribbon around your hand and tie the loops tightly in the middle. You don’t have enough hands? Okay, I’ll tie it for you. Can’t you do anything? Now, pull the loops out one at the time on alternate sides and twist slightly. See how it works? Don’t worry, it looks good enough. Tie the bow to the box. Now untie cat again.

9. Extra items on the outside of a box add a festive touch. Try tying a small ornament or toy next to the bow. No, a small cat will not work.

10. The end came untapped? Tape it back. No more tape, huh? You shouldn’t have used so much to tape the box shut. Use adhesive tape or duct tape. At this point, who cares? It’s the gift that matters, not the wrapping anyhow.

11. Additional gifts may be wrapped in the same manner. Helpful suggestion: Put cat in basement and lock door first. How many more gifts to you need to wrap?

12. Gift bags are nice. Go to the discount store and buy bags and tissue paper. Wrap gifts loosely with tissue and tape. Put several sheets of extra tissue paper in each bag. Add gifts and you are done. Why didn’t we think of this step in the first place?

Copyright 2002 Sheila Moss
Advertisements
Posted in Crafts/Hobbies, Holidays, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Christmas Shopping in a Day

shopperThis year I’ve decided to do all my Christmas shopping in one day! Get it over with, I say, and get on with the fun part, like decorating the tree and making cookies. The malls will open early during Christmas shopping season. I’ll get there early to take advantage of the bargains. Sure, things are crowded, but I won’t let that bother me.

Bargains! Discounts! That’s what every shopper craves. No one wants to pay full price when we can get stuff on sale! There’s a store advertising an extra 20% off if you get there before 8 a.m. But, why is the parking lot already full? What did these people do, park and camp out all night to be here first? I can’t believe what some people will do just to get a bargain. Next time I’ll come at 5 o’clock too.

Look at this! Knit shirts, buy one and get one for half price! I better get a few. At that price they won’t last long. Well, no, I don’t know anyone to give them to, but I can always use a couple myself.

Hey! That woman cut in front of me in the checkout line. She has her nerve. Wait until I get to the front of the line. I’m going to complain about this. They shouldn’t wait on people who cut in line. I may get mad and leave!

Gosh, my feet hurt! I’m so tired of waiting. Maybe I’ll just pay and complain the next time. I’ve got too much shopping to do to spend my time complaining. Wait! Where is the cashier going? It must be time for her break. I give up.

I’m going head for that department store at the other end of the mall. They always have better things there anyhow. Gee, the mall is crowded. Why are all these teenage kids here just walking around? They are just taking up space and not buying anything.

Maybe I’ll just stop at the food court and rest a minute or two. I’m starting to get pretty hungry. But how can I get anything to eat with all these people ahead of me? The tables are all full anyhow and there’s no place to sit. Maybe I can wait until later without starving.

Where is that other store anyhow? Don’t tell me I’m lost. They sure do make these shopping malls big. Okay, it is in the opposite direction at the other end of the mall. If I can walk that far, I can finally get started on my shopping.

Oh, look at that display in the window. Those shoes are really cute. I wish I had more time. I really could use a pair with the new backs like that. Wonder if they have them in my size? After I get done shopping, I’ll come back.

These department stores are so confusing. Where’s the ladies’ department? Oh, on the second floor, huh? What have they done with the escalator? I’ll never get my shopping done at this rate. The prices here are too high anyhow. I’m going to a different store.

Oh, a bargains table! I’ll dig in and see what I can find! Here’s a darling pink sweater in size XXL. Well, that won’t work. There’s another in size medium. That other shopper grabbed my sweater! I can’t believe these people, pushing and snatching like they have never seen a bargain before!

Well, it’s starting to get late and I’ve got to find my car. Maybe I’ll just wait and come back tomorrow, or go to a discount store, or order online, or buy gift cards – or something.

I can’t believe it – I spent a whole day shopping and didn’t buy a thing! Forget what I said about doing Christmas shopping in one day.

Copyright 2004 Sheila Moss
Posted in Holidays, Humor, Shopping | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dear Santa

joshua-ness-168528

Photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash

Story by Ben Baker & Sheila Moss

Ben’s letter to Santa (published by permission) shown in italics is a column that can (and has) stood alone.  Sheila just added her two cents worth from Santa to be aggravating.  The authors share a mutual interest in southern style humor.

* * * * *

Dear Santa,

Over the years I reckon you’ve been better to me than I deserve … if you ask some people.

Santa is glad to know that you are willing to admit your faults.  It is very popular to lie to Santa at this time of the year.  People forget that Santa “knows.”  You will be happy to learn that Santa does not listen to others’ opinions, he makes his own list and checks it twice – remember?

 I’ve been happy all these 30+ years (I still can’t count) to wake up  Christmas Day to find out you somehow managed to shinny down the chimney to drop all manner of stuff for me see.

You’re welcome.

But tell me, you jolly old elf, how do you do that? Seriously.

I tried to zip down the chimney here recently, just to make sure it was going to be safe for you, and got stuck. The rescue crew spent more time laughing than they did pulling me out.

That is pretty funny! Santa is sorry he missed it.  It’s probably just as well, though, when his belly gets to shaking like jelly, it can be hard to get it all stopped.

The chimney sweeps who had a nest in there were none to happy either. Do they bother you too?

No, they were probably waiting for me to arrive when you upset their nest and destroyed their Christmas tree.  No wonder they were upset.

I suppose you know, but now I can tell the rest of the world. Rusty Freeman and I once dropped firecrackers down the chimney trying to get rid of the chimney sweeps in the house I grew up in. It didn’t work and we filled the whole house with smoke. I don’t recommend trying this at home because the chimney could catch fire. Really.

Santa won’t comment on this as it seems you’ve learned your lesson. However, Rusty Freeman now shoots his shotgun up the chimney.  He’s a real problem for Santa.  What if he mistakes Santa for a chimney sweep?  See the problem here?

Furthermore, as best I can figure you’ve been round for longer than I’ve been alive. What’s your cholesterol level? Blood pressure? Blood sugar? When was your last doctor’s visit and did the doctor tell you to lose weight? If not, can I get an appointment with your doctor? Inquiring minds (and round people) want to know.

Santa’s health stats are a well kept secret, however, Santa doesn’t care for doctors either.  They are impossible to choose gifts for and ask for things like Peace on Earth, Freedom and Equality, and New Hospital Wings.  Who do they think I am, God?

And those milk and cookies. Please explain that. When my kids leave milk out at home, it turns solid in 20 minutes. Do you have a thing for stale cookies and sour milk?

I save the sour milk and Mrs. Claus makes butter for my morning biscuits. The cookies are pretty bad, but the chimney sweeps really like them.  See why they are so fond of Santa?

Let’s forget a moment about how you manage to circle the globe every year in 24 hours, with a visit to homes all along the way. That I can handle.

But do tell me, when you visit Australia and they are in the middle of a heat wave, it’s their summer you know, doesn’t that fur-lined coat get awfully hot? Heck, if I wore all that I’d probably fall out … again.

Yes, a fur trimmed bikini would be nice for the tropics.  However, people have come to expect the traditional red suit.  Santa tries to travel in the upper atmosphere most of the time where it is cool.  Also, the Aussies drink like fish, so I get a lot of cold tall ones there instead of the sour milk you Americans are so fond of.

I’ve seen pictures of your reindeer and notice they have some pretty small antlers to be reindeer (also known as caribou in some places). You might want to check at the feed & seed store for some high-protein and high-calcium food supplements.

Please do not criticize Santa’s reindeer.  So the antlers are a bit small! Who cares?  Do you really have any idea how hard it is to find reindeer that can fly these days?

You are also probably wondering what I want for Christmas this year. I took a few minutes and developed this short list.

More anchovy-jalapeno pizzas. I promise to not eat any after 10:30 p.m. if you’ll cooperate on this request.

Okay, that happens to be Santa’s favorite too. Santa does not deliver pizza, by the way. He suggests you call Dominos’.

Help me to remember to get J.R. from school every day at 2:30. I think the office is getting tired of calling me and asking if I intended to pick him up each time I forget.

Santa will take your request into consideration and check his list (again). You did give your okay for that X-box J.R. asked for didn’t you?

I’d really like to kill a deer this year and go to a good duck shoot. But, I’ll understand if you can’t arrange that. Some things are beyond Santa’s abilities.

Yes, I’ve received a lot of requests to deliver a new President this year too.  I’d say the chances of you killing a deer are about the same.

Could you do something about armadillos? Get rid of them in other words. When they open a combination hammered metal fabrication shop-ultimate heavy metal concert arena under the house at 2:30 a.m. each night to build and outfit a new space shuttle with speakers that can be heard from Mercury to Jupiter, well, that kind of gets on my nerves. Getting on my nerves being a polite way to put it. Besides my dogs feel it is their sworn duty to bark all night to let me know we have armadillos under the house making enough racket to drown out a Democratic filibuster.

If you think the armadillo’s sounds bad, you should listing to Larry Graves sing for a while.  You will change your opinion pretty fast.  As for the dogs, anything that can drown out the Democrats will probably get a bid to come to Washington soon, so enjoy them while you can.

Santa thinks you should relax more and worry less.  Otherwise he may be bringing you another heart monitor for Christmas.  Santa is taking time to write to you personally because he wants you to know that he cares, especially for other round people.

Now, if you will excuse him, Santa needs to go out to the workshop and see if the elves can work out anything for World Peace.  Santa seems to have received an unusually large number of requests this year.

Merry Christmas!

Copyright 2000 Ben Baker & Sheila Moss

* * * * *

Ben Baker, the Redneck Guru, is Editor of a Georgia newspaper, the “Wiregrass Farmer,” and a freelance humor writer whose columns have been widely published.  He is the author of a number of short humor books.

Larry Graves is a humorist who graciously lets us pick on him and has not sued yet.  Larry writes funny comedy stories. He also does some comedy songwriting and hilarious videos.

Rusty Freeman is a childhood friend of Ben’s.  I wouldn’t mess with him.

Posted in Holidays, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rules for Santa’s Workshop, Inc.

 

elf

MEMO

FROM: Kris Kringle
TO: All Staff
RE: Rules for Santa’s Workshop, Inc.

It has come to my attention that some of the staff are taking their responsibilities less than seriously. As you know, our business has the responsibility of providing presents for all the children in the world. Therefore, it is imperative that all staff maintains a professional demeanor and sustains production levels, especially during our seasonal rush.

1. The uniform for all elves is officially green. No more T-shirts with slogans such as, “Bah! Humbug!” should be worn. It is important that we maintain a professional appearance in the workshop. Pointed-toe shoes are also a part of the uniform whether you consider them nerdy or not.

2. It has been rumored that some elves are not paying attention to personal hygiene. Please be considerate of your fellow employees and do not come into the workshop without showering after shoveling out the reindeer barn. Mrs. Claus nearly passed out the other day. Suggested soap scents are bayberry, peppermint, cinnamon and pine.

3. Work breaks are a privilege, not a right. You will return from breaks promptly at the scheduled time. Hanging around the water cooler and ogling the new Princess Barbie dolls is unacceptable.

4. Overtime is available on an “as needed” basis. When you are on overtime, you should be busy working. Excessive testing of the Game Boys, Xboxes, Nintendo’s and other electronic toys during work hours will not be tolerated.

5. The Robosapien robot is the one of our hottest items. Please do not abuse these robots by having them fetch you cookies and milk from the kitchen or make them take your place in the assembly line.

6. All toys are manufactured to break shortly after the manufacturer’s warranty expires. It’s called job security. Please do not play with them before delivery or they will break too soon and have to be replaced for free.

7. Please be sure batteries are removed from toys before shipping. A dead battery in toys on Christmas morning is one of our biggest complaints. I might add that removing the battery from Rudolph’s nose last year was not funny, and if I find out who did it, you will be transferred to Donald Trump’s board room.

8. Absences will be excused for valid reasons only. Staying off work to watch movies or videos on your media player is not considered valid. Neither is snow boarding or tricycle racing.

9. Santa must do an extensive amount of travel at this time of the year visiting malls and making personal appearances in parades; therefore, please address any problems or concerns to Corporate Vice President, Mrs. Claus, during my absences. She will be able to reach me on my cell phone, a popular item held over every Christmas.

10. All elves will report to the barn early on the morning of the 24th to assist in packing the sled. Please do not whine about not getting to ride along. Any stowaways will be dealt with harshly. Excessive weight will slow us down and we might be unable to make it around the world by sunrise.

11. Reindeer should rest, eat a light meal on Christmas Eve, and be ready to travel at sunset. You deer have had 364 days out to pasture. Surely it is not too much to ask you to avoid grazing off the Christmas buffet until after the gifts are delivered.

12. The Christmas party will proceed as usual on Christmas Day. There will be goodies and gifts for all that attend. There will also be a drawing for a snow mobile, a ski trip to Sun Valley, and other fabulous prizes.

Thank you for your cooperation, and please remember to whistle while you work. After all, it ’tis the season to be jolly.

Copyright 2004 Sheila Moss
Posted in Holidays, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Season of Giving and Taking

freestocks-org-187367

Here it is, almost Christmas. Probably by now you are overcome with Christmas spirit; feeling generous, decorating your tree, and finishing up some last minute shopping before wrapping your gifts.

We only hope that you have not made a charitable contribution to your local criminal element. Yes, it is Christmas for crooks too, and there is nothing they enjoy more than busy, crowded, holidays when they have so many additional opportunities to practice their trade.

Here are a few tips if you want to help out these ambitious entrepreneurs and assure they have an successful holiday season:

When shopping, park your car in a dark area away from buildings or lights make it more accessible to them. After all, it’s Christmas. Have a heart! There is nothing a thief likes better than a dark area where he won’t be seen or noticed while practicing his craft.

Cell phones, purses, and GPS’s make excellent gifts for thieves and unlike your ungrateful relatives, they won’t even mind that they are pre-used. Criminals will probably suspect that you may be away from the car for while shopping. Making a quick grab when opportunity knocks can absolutely make their day.

Small shopping areas are even better places to give away your valuables than large shopping malls where there may be security guards. Avoid malls and help a dishonest outlaw make a living. You might even leave your door unlocked since you are in such a hurry to shop. Be aware that a thief must do his shopping outside while you are shopping inside.

If you make it home without donating your purchases to a worthwhile culprit, wrap all your gifts and place them under the tree in front of the window where they can be see from outside. While you are out of the house enjoying other holiday activities, industrious burglars can procure the gifts that are already wrapped for giving and thus assure their own family of a happy holiday.

If you prefer donating cash instead of goods, carry large amounts of money and never pay with debit or credit cards. Encourage timid pickpockets by leaving a purse dangling on your shoulder for easy snatching or by putting your wallet in a visible back pocket instead of an inside pocket. Cash cannot be traced or cancelled and pickpockets will greatly appreciate your thoughtfulness.

If a good con artist sees nothing worth taking, perhaps he will come to your door asking for a donation for a needy charity knowing that you will be in an especially generous mood at this time of the year. Don’t embarrass him by asking for identification or refusing to donate except to charities you know and trust. Give generously and help a con guy in need.

Remember, this is the time of year to support the low life of our society. By paying attention to carelessness, you can assure that the scum of the earth will not go without a Merry Christmas.

Please give generously and always remember, you too can be a victim of crime.

Copyright 2003 Sheila Moss
Posted in Holidays, Humor, Shopping | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Trimming the Tree

At my house, my grandson always wanted to be included in anything to do with Christmas. One of his favorite activities was helping to trim the Christmas tree. Including children in holiday festivities helps to create traditions and gives them childhood memories.

Here are some helpful suggestions on how to trim a Christmas tree so that children can be a part of your Christmas celebration.

Bring the artificial tree down from the attic. Remove the child from the top of the box and warn him about the dangers of climbing. Take out the limbs and place them in piles according to their size. Remove the limbs that the child puts in the wrong piles.

Let the child hand you the branches as you insert them into the tree trunk. Remove the limbs that the child inserted in the wrong place while you were busy. Warn the child that the tree may turn over if the branches are not evenly placed. Stand the tree back up and be certain that the child was not injured.

String colorful lights around the tree, starting at the top and winding down around the tree. Remove the lights that are wound around the child. Drape a garland or some bright ribbon around the tree before adding the ornaments. Throw away any ornaments that the child breaks while you are busy draping the garland.

Plug in the lights. Plug in the lights again and warn the child about the dangers of pulling electric plugs out.  Show the child how to hang ornaments on the tree. Carefully re-hang any ornaments that fall off. This will be most of them. All the ornaments will be placed on the bottom branches by the child. Resist the urge to move them.

Lift the child up and allow him to place the angel at the top of the tree. Have the child check the ornament boxes to see if they are empty while you fix the lopsided angel. Remove the child from the empty Christmas tree box. Return the empty boxes to the attic. Re-plug the lights.

Look for the missing child until you realize there is only one place left. Go to attic and remove the child from the empty Christmas tree box.

Sweep up the glass from the antique ornaments that were broken during decorating. Warn the child about the dangers of handling broken glass. Put a band-aid on your injured finger. Re-plug the lights again and remind the child that Santa is watching.

Admire the tree, even though all the ornaments are on the bottom branches, the lights are unplugged, and the angel is slightly lopsided.

Copyright 2002 Sheila Moss
Posted in Family, Holidays, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Black Friday – In More Ways Than One

lily-lvnatikk-271825Stay out of my way! It isn’t safe to be out. I’m talking about Black Friday, of course, what did you think? On Thursday we are thankful for our blessings. On Friday we are thankful for bargains.

I’m sure you saw the ads for all the things that will be on sale: 40 inch flat-screens for $200, X-Boxes and iPods at ridiculously low prices. No, of course, I don’t need any of that stuff. I don’t even know what half of the electronics they advertise are. But what does that matter? Get out the credit cards. Buy now and pay later.

Most places are opening earlier than ever, some at midnight. I didn’t want to take any chances so I’ve been in line since last Monday. I considered bringing a tent, but I didn’t want to be mistaken for a protester. I would miss out on all the sales.

On Black Friday, capitalism rules. Greed is king. Consume, consume, consume, whether you need any more stuff or not. It’s the patriotic things to do. Support our merchants; keep Wal-Mart and Target profitable. Keep Best Buy from going under. Don’t worry about who will keep you from going under.

I had my strategy planned. I made a test run the week before, routing out the path to the items I wanted most. I had on my running shoes and my sweatpants. I even had a parka in case of rain. I was ready to bargain shop.

This time I will stay out of the way of runaway shopping carts pushed by bargain-crazed housewives. I remember what happened the year my foot was run over. The shopper didn’t even bother to stop and check out the damage. My foot was blue for a week. So, what did I learn from that, you ask? I learned not to shop at places that have carts.

Everyone was waiting for the doors to open so we could charge. I was at the front of the line waiting for the doors to be unlocked at midnight. I still don’t know what happened. All I remember is dreaming I was trampled by a herd of elephants.

After I was done at the ER, it was too late to shop. But the stores open at 7 A.M. on Saturday. I still have 15 percent off coupons and plan to buy as much as I can so I will save more money. I think I can get around well enough on my crutches.

Spending money is the best way to help the economy isn’t it? That’s what they keep telling us anyhow. I’m not worried about the economy getting worse next year. But in case it does, I want to get plenty of stuff now while I can.

Cyber Monday is coming and I can look online for all the stuff I didn’t get this weekend. Shopping online is not as exciting, but you can look for exactly what you need without being distracting by all the other stuff you want.

If have any credit left on my credit card, I will go back after Christmas and get all the stuff I found that I wanted for myself when I was buying gifts for other people. Everything will be on sale. I can return the things people got for me that I don’t want and spend any gift cards I have before they expire.

Now that I think of it, gift cards are not a bad idea. Maybe I will get gift cards next time and save all the gas, time, anxiety and energy of shopping. Oh, well, if they don’t like what I bought, they can take it back after Christmas and get something else.

When I see all the bargains, I can’t help myself. Only 30 days to shop between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Copyright 2011 Sheila Moss
Posted in Holidays, Humor, Shopping | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Too Much Thanksgiving?

 

 

  • You can’t believe you spent 10 hours cooking it and they ate it in 10 minutes.
  • You check your popup timer to see if it’s really over.
  • When you hear the word leftovers, you call 911.
  • You lock the door so your relatives don’t come back.
  • Your turkey was generic, but guests “Can’t believe it’s not Butterball.”
  • Your oven is passing a petition against you.
  • Your grocery store sends you fan mail instead of coupons.
  • You received a new smoke detector as a hostess gift.
  • You haven’t slept since you bought the turkey.
  • You fell asleep after Thanksgiving with your apron on.
  • You forgot to baste the turkey but it promised not to tell.
  • You had pumpkin pie for breakfast.
  • Your dishwasher is having hot flashes.
  • You can’t open the refrigerator because leftovers will fall out.
  • You have re-occurring flash-backs of eating too much.
  • You would like to jog it off, but you can’t bend over to put on your jogging shoes.
  • You buy a lifetime supply of paper plates and swear you’ll never wash dishes again.
  • You make a donation to Save the Turkeys and become a vegan.
  • Your garbage disposer doesn’t want any more leftovers either.
  • You wonder if Thanksgiving is actually a holiday invented by supermarkets.
  • You are grateful that no one has invented a recipe for chocolate covered turkey (yet).
  • You have to eat without forks because all the silverware is in the dishwasher.
  • You call your leftovers the Butterball Mystery Meat.
  • You eat fast food hamburgers the next day because anything is better than turkey.
  • Thanksgiving is the only time you get to recycle all your good china.
  • You know all the pots fit in the cabinet before, so why don’t they fit now?
  • The stove has gone on strike for better working conditions.
  • The local grocery store wants to adopt you.
  • Your turkey roaster is insured against theft, fire, and explosion.
  • Foodmart now has a lien against your home.
  • You’re so tired, you don’t even mind watching football on TV.
  • Your goal in life is to teach someone else to “do” Thanksgiving.
  • You do not eat for three days because heating up leftovers is too much work.
  • Black Friday is not your idea of the way to work off overeating.
  • You wouldn’t go shopping if they were giving away Toys R Us.
  • You wonder what to do with the turkey bones to keep the trash can from complaining.
  • Your house has been designated a national turkey memorial site.
  • You wonder what they eat for Thanksgiving in Turkey.
  • -Pumpkin scented candles give you a pumpkin scented migraine.
  • You think Black Friday should be called Good Friday because Thanksgiving is over.
  • If they think a turkey can gobble, they should see your family at the table.
  • Amazing how your smoke detector shorted out exactly when the turkey finished cooking.
  • No use crying over spilt gravy, unless you slip and fall in it.
  • If the potatoes boil over, think of it as an excuse to clean the stove.
  • You wonder if it’s possible to have a candied sweet potato hangover.
  • You would appreciate the compliments more if they were not followed by “See ya next year.”
  • Your favorite things are turkey sandwiches, turkey soup and turkey pot pie,
    because they mean Thanksgiving is finished.
  • You’re wondering if the turkey is the turkey or if you are.
  • If you think you are upset by Thanksgiving, consider the turkey.
  • Copyright 2009 Sheila Moss
Posted in Food, Holidays, Humor, Rants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to Cook a Real Turkey

turkey-532962_1280The big day is coming and people everywhere are getting nervous because they have to cook a turkey. Not to worry. Even I, the queen of disaster, can roast a turkey. I’ve been cooking turkeys for years and a turkey is the easiest thing there is to cook. (Yes, really.)

Throw away that fancy cookbook and get down to basics. Don’t even consider the microwave. This is a time for tradition. Assuming you already have an oven, there are basically three more things you will need: a pan, a rack, and a turkey. If you do not want to invest in these basics, forget the cooking and go out.

The Pan: There is no substitute for a good pan. Don’t be fooled by those flimsy aluminum things you will see in the grocery store. They are the short road to disaster. They are difficult to handle when hot and your turkey could end up in the middle of the kitchen floor. Invest in a real pan, the old-fashioned enamel kind is great. It will last forever and ever, and you can will it to your children when you die. Caution: Measure your oven to be sure the pan will fit. I’ve had a few pretty tight squeezes through the years.

The Rack: This is the best-kept secret to turkey success. It will cost only a few dollars to get a rack of some sort for your pan. This keeps the turkey off the bottom of the pan, but more importantly, you can get that heavy bird out of the pan while its hot. If the rack does not have handles, improvise by making lifters out of heavy wire, such as a coat hanger. Be sure it is wired onto the rack tightly and won’t come loose when you lift the turkey out. Gross? Trust me, it works.

The Bird: Turkeys come in two sizes, large and extra large. Large is big enough for your family and a few friends. Resist the temptation to buy the largest turkey you can find. Buy a fresh turkey. (Not the kind with feathers, the non-frozen ones.) Forget those frozen monstrosities. After years of fooling with thawing and chipping out icy turkey giblets frozen in the turkey, it dawned on me: defrosting is not worth the trouble. How often do you cook a turkey? Splurge on the real thing. Fresh turkeys come out moist and delicious, much, much better than the frozen ones.

Stuff your turkey. A turkey is just not the same without stuffing. I won’t go into recipes. Southerners love cornbread stuffing. Some like oyster stuffing. Personally, I like raisins. If you can find that cookbook I told you to throw away, rest assured it will have many suggestions. The boxes of seasoned croutons sold in the grocery stores also work just fine. You can make the stuffing ahead, but refrigerate it in a shallow pan and wait until the big day to stuff your bird. Food poisoning will absolutely ruin your day.

Turkeys take a long time to cook. Get up extra early on the big day. It will take only a short while to stuff the bird, put it in the pan and throw it in the oven. If the lid to your roaster does not fit in the oven, forget it and use aluminum foil. Don’t worry about skewers and all that stuff to hold the stuffed turkey closed. Use a needle and thread and sew that sucker shut. No one will know. When you are half-asleep, you don’t feel like fooling with skewers anyway.

BE SURE THE OVEN IS TURNED ON: You’d be surprised how many folks eat late because they forgot. Get the times and temperature to roast the bird of your choice from that infamous cookbook you are so fond of. Once the bird is in the oven, go back to bed. The smell of a turkey cooking is wonderful to wake up to. A turkey will cook itself. If you really must peek, go ahead, but watch out for hot steam.

Don’t worry. The bird will be wonderful and you will be eating leftovers for weeks to come.

Copyright 1998 Sheila Moss
Posted in Food, Holidays, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Hysterical History of Thanksgiving

Once upon a time, there were some Puritans that moved from England to Holland. After a while, the Puritans decided they didn’t much like their kids speaking Dutch because the adults only understood English, and also they really hated going Dutch treat. The wooden shoes gave them blisters, and they preferred black shoes with buckles to match their hats and purses.

They called AAA Travel and booked a cruise for 40 to the New World. Unfortunately the Niña, Piñta and Santa María, had already sailed and all that was left was the Mayflower. The cruise line was lousy and the Puritans didn’t like the bar and casino, so they were pretty grumpy by the time they arrived at their destination.

Although they had sailed all the way across the Atlantic, they were too seasick to go on to Virginia. Probably it was all that seafood they ate. They made a compact with the other passengers to boycott seafood, a revolutionary new idea, which gave them the idea of calling themselves Pilgrims.

When the Pilgrims found Plymouth Rock, they liked its name much better than Cape Cod, which sounded fishy. So, they decided to all get off and settle there. They forgot that Plymouth Rock was pretty chilly in winter, however, and they hadn’t packed any insulated underwear. They didn’t like to ski or drink hot buttered rum either.

Thank goodness, the New World had invented baseball and the Indians were playing that season. The Indians felt sorry for the Puritans, who didn’t understand the game. One of the Indians, named Squanto, knew all the cruse line directors and had traveled to England where he learned to “Speaka the English” with only a slight American accent. Squanto took a special interest in the Pilgrims as the ball team was always looking for rookies to recruit.

Squanto taught the Puritans to hunt so they would be able to find their seats in the stadium when it was built, and to grow pumpkins so they could make jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. Squanto also taught them how to make maple syrup — and taught them to grow corn, and  they could use the syrup for making popcorn balls. If it had not been for this sort of help from the friendly Indians, the Pilgrims would never have made it in the New World

The Pilgrims were so happy they decided to have a big bash to celebrate, and they invited all the Indians to come. Since they didn’t have any hot dogs, they ate roasted fowl and venison and pretended it was ballpark franks. They washed it down with cranberry juice cocktail. Actually, this was only a harvest celebration since the Pilgrims always fasted when they gave thanks.

The next year the Indians didn’t make it to the playoffs and the Pilgrims forgot all about celebrating for several years until another winning team came along. Since they had been praying for a winning team, they were very thankful and decided it might be a good idea to celebrate again.

Unfortunately, the Indians had moved to Cleveland and were beginning to be a little aggravated at the Pilgrims for building houses instead of a new stadium. The Pilgrims decided they would become New England Patriots fans and watch football for their celebration.

They liked the combination of turkey and football so well that they did it every year, and it soon became a tradition. Finally, the Continental Congress passed a law that all 13 colonies would celebrate the holiday, and then they promptly adjourned to go to the big game.

Nobody really took Thanksgiving very seriously until some lady wrote about it in “Ladies Home Journal” and President Lincoln, who frequently took ideas for laws from ladies’ magazines, thought it would be a good idea to have a national day of Thanksgiving.

And that is how the Thanksgiving holiday came about. To this very day, we still over indulge on turkey to celebrate and to show our gratitude for football. We no longer invite the Indians; however, since the World Series is over for the year and they are on vacation and wouldn’t come anyhow.

Copyright 2000 Sheila Moss

Written with sincere apologies to the memory of the late, great columnist, Art Buchwald, who satirized the dubious Pilgrims and Thanksgiving story first.

Posted in Holidays, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments