A little secret about milk is that the higher the fat content, the longer it will keep in the fridge. So "Heavy Whipping Cream", which has so much fat you could make butter out of it, can be bought a week or two ahead of time to be used for making whipping cream at a moment's notice.
My grandmother, Mema, made whipped cream from scratch - we never had cool whip or dream whip. It tastes divine and once you have developed a taste for it, the other products taste artificial and waxy. She used an electric mixer and I usually do too, but for a small amount to serve one or two people, it is just as fast to whip it by hand.
Here is how you do it:
Buy only heavy whipping cream or whipping cream. You can't use coffee cream or half and half. You can't use "fat free" cream. Highest fat content is essential. Keep it very cold, but don't freeze it - alas nearly every brand today has additives that cause it to separate when frozen.
You can freeze the BOWL though, and using a chilled bowl will make it whip faster.
Pour about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of heavy cream into your chilled bowl and beat with a whisk (any kind of whisk will work as long as it is clean - don't use a bamboo one unless it is new, because they are hard to clean completely and may retain oils and flavors of other foods they were previously used with).
Beat for about 1 minute, then add one Tablespoon of granulated cane sugar. You don't need much sugar usually because the cream itself is naturally sweet. So take it easy, you can add more later if it isn't sweet enough. Also add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract (vanilla also heightens the sweetness of foods, reducing the amount of sugar needed). Continue beating for another two minutes or so until the cream is stiff enough for your liking. Taste and see if it is sweet enough.
Refrigerate any leftovers immediately. :-)