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Overcoming common holiday mishaps

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From spills to dropped desserts to undercooked meat, author has ready solutions for array of unwelcome surprises

'Tis the season to be prepared.

Sometimes a little holiday cheer can spill on your lovely white carpet, but these merry little mishaps all have some quick fixes, according to Amy Goodman, author of "Wear This, Toss That."

And, in the holiday spirit, she shared some of them on "The Early Show on Saturday Morning."

Celebrating the Holidays 2011

You run out of wrapping paper

Supposedly, the hard part is over -- you found the perfect gift for everyone on your list. But you suddenly run out of wrapping paper for those last few items. Why not make your own with things you have around the house? Items such as brown paper bags or, for smaller gifts, regular white paper, snowflake stamps and blue and white and silver ink pads. Or a brown paper bag cut up, and cut out your own stamper from an apple and stamp that on the paper.

You undercook the meat

This happened to me at Thanksgiving. Everything was perfectly timed, all of my side dishes were hot, and as my husband cut into the turkey, it was pink! I was devastated. It meant another round of putting the turkey in the oven with guests sitting around. What to do? Avoid the microwave to finish up, as there is something unceremonious about wrapping up Christmas dinner in a make-it-quick appliance. Continue using the oven to finish up the meat, checking on it every 10-15 minutes until juices run clear.

The solution: Have an emergency soup ready. I like to cook things in stages, and two days before Thanksgiving, I had made a butternut squash soup. I simply heated it up, served it in bowls around the kitchen and living room, and tore into some country, rustic bread -- we skipped sitting at the formal dining room for this casual, emergency first course. Tummies were satiated, conversation flowed, and my meat mishap was long0forgotten once we sat down to the formal dinner.

Wax drips on your favorite tablecloth

There's nothing more gorgeous than silver candleabra with long taper candles for Christmas dinner. But one person bumps the table, or the wax accumulates and pours out, and then your favorite tablecloth is ruined.

First: Do not touch the hot wax.

Allow it to dry and cool, and tackle it after your guests leave.

Scrape it away using a slightly dull knife, away from you, shake the savings off (do not push it off -- it will get stuck elsewhere!)

On your ironing board, place an old towel, the tablecloth wax side up and blotting paper on top of that. Turn up the iron as hot as it goes, no steam. Iron the blotting paper atop the wax. The paper will absorb the melted wax. Keep moving the paper as the ironed area becomes saturated with "oil," Carefully remove paper, leave tablecloth to cool. Wash and dry as directed.

You have a new white carpet/tablecloth/blouse and are afraid someone will spill red wine

Why not avoid the problem altogether and serve a deliciously festive, all-white cocktail, white wines and champagne?

You get an unexpected gift

A guest arrives with a gift, and you don't have a gift in return. But alas -- you do! Because you have a few evergreen gifts tucked away in an upstairs closet for just the very reason. It's nice if you can match the gift value, but not necessary, of course. Perhaps a collection of preserves or local honeys in a small basket and bow, a favorite book you enjoyed that you know others will too, a collection of nice soaps in a soap box or, for a more personalized gift, a unisex watch, which would do the trick for a man or woman.

Your dessert hits the floor

The desert hits the floor or a guest forgets to bring it or, like me sometimes, you simply lose steam to get the last thing done after cooking a full menu.

Bring out your favorite hot chocolate, make it with creamy milk, fill up the mugs and, in small matching bowls or an appetizer plate with subdivisions, put out mini-marshmallows, chocolate shavings, broken up Andes mints, crumbled-up a candy cane, coconut shavings, whipped cream and maybe some Kalhua for a little topper, and there you have it! A hot cocoa station!