If you’re the crafty type and were contemplating making fretwork tree decorations or embroidered stockings or snowflake trivets, consider making a few extra because they make excellent Small Presents. (If they actually are small, that is, and if they don’t take weeks and weeks to make.)
Hannah came around with a new cookbook that had a particularly lavish chapter on cakes.
“Choose something from here for your birthday,” she offered and I selected an orange cake with grated chocolate in it. Hannah left pondering whether to decorate the cake with curls of orange zest or with choc-dipped orange slices and I’m about to check if I have any of those really long matches.
 The life-sized replica of Sleipnir (Odin’s six-legged horse) that my friend Todd made took him the better part of a year to construct and was certainly too large to take to school to give to a favourite teacher.
 It’s much rarer to see a cookbook with a lavish chapter on salads – “lavish” just doesn’t seem the right word for anything based on vegetables (with the exception, of course, of Caesar salad which, as previously mentioned, is really a bowl of several kinds of fat, with a bit of lettuce mixed through).
 In my experience, any decoration that involves chocolate beats any decoration that doesn’t.
 Which are useful once one passes thirty and has to spend so long lighting birthday candles that the toddlers get restless and the elderly nod off.