Tuesday 16 November 2021

Dear Ms. Ginger Snaps


by Erin McDougall

peppermint latte


Holiday Blues got you down?

Does the Chipmunk’s Christmas Medley on repeat make you want to deck your boss’ halls? Tired of waiting under the mistletoe - you know it’s a weed, right?

Write to Ms. Ginger Snaps with your tales of Christmas Woe!

She’ll reply with sassy advice bound to brighten even the Scrooge-iest of Scrooges.

Give yourself the gift of Ms. Ginger Snaps!


Dear Ms. Ginger Snaps,


I need to face the facts: nobody likes me. I just don’t get it. I’m everything anyone could possibly want: I’m sweet, I’m chewy and yeah, I can be a little nutty and sometimes a little dense, but if you nuke me for a few seconds, I’m soft and delicious too. But every year, at every party, I get stuck between Little Miss Perfect Shortbread and Brown Sugar Fudgey McFudgeface and I just don’t stand a chance.


Sure, Miss Shortbread’s all buttery and topped with a little fruity thing like those gaudy New Year’s glasses people wear when they’re elbow deep in the punch before 10PM, but everybody knows, she’s super high-maintenance. What with all the mixing and chilling and making sure the butter is not too hard or too soft and blah blah blah. If I have to hear at one more party how she’s the first one to get baked and how honoured she is to be the one to keep the holiday tradition going, I’ll scream.


Then McFudgeface is all “aren’t you the same Fruitcake from last Christmas, regifted back to the original gifter? Hahaha! Same cake, different plate, amiright?” I try to let it go but then I’m the last one standing at the end of the night and no one’s picked me up, not even once out of courtesy for the host.  Is there anything I can do to not get handed off as the oh-no-you-got-us-a-nice-bottle-of-wine-and-we-didn’t-get-you-anything but-here’s-a-Fruitcake-it’s-homemade-Merry-Christmas-gift” this year?  I’m even made with booze! Why am I so unlovable?




Not Your Aunt Ruth’s Fruitcake Again



Dear Not Your Aunt Ruth’s Fruitcake Again,


I feel for you, Not Your Aunt Ruth’s Fruitcake Again. The holiday party circuit is a tough nut to crack and this constant rejection and being the butt of terrible jokes has got to weigh on you. Take a deep breath of the pine-fresh air and relax. There is hope.


Your letter sparked a flood of messages:

“I love,  love, LOVE fruitcake.”


“I always look for the fruitcake at parties. Fruitcake is always interesting, complex and best when a little nutty.”


“Keep your chin up! Fruitcake, like the little black dress, never goes out of style. And, like the little black dress, it takes a certain something to pull it off.”


“My mother used to  make fruitcake with those little candied red and green cherries. Mmm...go-od!”


So you see, Not Your Aunt Ruth’s Fruitcake, you are appreciated. Loved! Compared to the one and only LBD. And if that doesn’t give you a boost, then we’re really in trouble.


Regarding Little Miss Shortbread and Brown Sugar Fudgey McFudgeface, what they say says more about them than it does about you. As a wise woman named Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” It might also lift your spirits to know that Mrs. Roosevelt’s husband, The President, loved Fruitcake. So if you find yourself getting drawn into the drama with Shortbread and Fudgeface, feel free to bust out that ginger snap of a comeback.


Seriously, it’s not you. It’s them. By them, I mean society. Somewhere along the way of mass-food production, fruitcake got a rep for being a brick of spices and fruit that functions well as a doorstop and this is unfortunate. To be done justice, you’re supposed to take days to make with only the best ingredients, spices and Scotch. You say you’re “dense” and need a good “nuking” for your softness to really shine. I say, you deserve better. You are meant to be a thing of beauty, of moist, rich flavors that people ask about for the recipe. You deserve to be a creation of love and care and you need to demand this! No rushing, no regifting. Sugar Plum, you’ve gotta love yourself.


And know this, tastes cycle in and out like the latest gotta-have-it gift. I know you’ve been hurt before but you have to keep putting yourself, your BEST SELF out there. Your time will come. Soon enough, Little Miss Shortbread and Brown Sugar McFudgeface will be bragging about how they knew you way back when...and you’ll be too busy making the party rounds to give these dark times any of your precious energy.


The Year of Aunt Ruth’s Fruitcake looks both merry and bright!


Much Love,


Ms. Ginger Snap


About the author 

Calgary-based writer Erin McDougall loves the possibilities of the short story: writing contests, reviewing theatre and dance, plus snapshot bookstagram reviews on @thattowerofbooks. Her work has been published in Toasted Cheese Literary Journal, The Culture Trip Paris, and the anthology WonderShift.



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