Well, folks – it’s that time of year again, and I’m sure some of you are less than confident when it comes to producing the perfect looking Christmas present for your loved ones. Well, stop worrying. I’ve been doing it “my way” for years, so I thought I’d share my twelve-step method with you all, with a few extra hints and tips for sharing the task with kittie.
You will need:
A suitable gift, wrapping paper, sticky tape, decorative ribbon, scissors, your beverage of choice, miscellaneous comestibles (chocolate, sticky sweets, toffees, cigarettes), one or more cats.
1. To prepare, light fire, put “Now That’s What I Call Christmas” on the stereo and sit down on the floor. Make sure beverage and comestibles are within easy reach. Smokers – now is the correct time to light up.
2. Unroll a length of wrapping paper. Reach for scissors. Unroll a length of wrapping paper. Unroll it again…repeat until you realise you need to weight it down to stop it rolling up again. Your beverage can be used for this, although the cat will probably volunteer.
3. Cut paper. Make sure the first piece you cut is far too large for your parcel. Trim off the piece the cat has chewed. Remove cat from wrapping paper and replace with gift.
4. Remove cat from gift box. Attempt to bring two ends of wrapping paper together around the gift. This should take approximately twenty minutes, after which time you should realise that the sticky tape is on the other side of the room. Fetch tape. Remove cat from box. Attempt to bring ends of paper together again. This time, you will have the tape close at hand, but the end will be stuck down. Frantically pick at the end of the tape with your fingernail until you manage to free the end. Tear off a piece using your teeth. Remove cat from box. Bring paper ends together again, hold them down with either foot, knee or large vase and jam the sticky tape over the join before it can ping undone again. Remove sticky tape and undo paper. Remove cat from box. Repeat.
5. Take a slurp of beverage. Hydration is important. The tricky bit is coming up.
6. Fold the unstuck ends of paper into points. If you have followed Step (3) correctly, there will be far too much paper to achieve this successfully. Grapple with paper in a futile fashion for approximately 30 minutes, before reaching for scissors and trimming the ends shorter WITHOUT removing the paper from the parcel. Yes, your cat is laughing at you at this point.
7. Repeat Step (6). The paper will now be too small to achieve the desired effect.
8. Have a short cry. Re-balance blood sugar levels by consumption of comestibles. Smokers – this is the point at which you will realise that your wrapping paper has caught fire. Smother the flames, liberally spray air freshener (maybe something with Christmas Spices, to get you in the festive mood) and proceed to step (9).
9. Beat the unstuck ends of paper into submission with fists, head or conveniently located blunt instrument. Select random spare pieces of paper to patch any gaps. Search for tape for approximately ten minutes. Locate it either stuck to the back of your sweater or stuck to the back of the cat. Cocoon the whole parcel in vast quantities of tape. Carefully peel your limbs away from parcel. Solvents should not be required. Use a spatula or strong pallette knife to detach the cat. Ignore the large quantities of cat hair now incorporated into the parcel. This gives it the homely touch.
10. There is no parcel that can’t be improved by a touch of glittery ribbon. Your cat agrees with this. Locate roll of ribbon under the sofa where the cat has swatted it. Unravel a length long enough to go round the parcel twice, remembering to leave enough to tie a bow. Reach for scissors. Note that the length of unravelled ribbon has quadrupled and there is now a cat attached to the end of it. Gently pull the ribbon away from the cat. Retrieve roll of ribbon from kitchen, pick up crockery, fetch dustpan and brush to collect the shards, retrieve cat from ceiling fan. Once again, gently remove ribbon from cat. Now, gently remove cat from face – don’t worry, there’s antiseptic in the bathroom! Tie shredded and mangled remains of ribbon around parcel in two directions and tie in a bow, remembering to clean off excess cat spit. Hint: use remaining ribbon to tie the cat to the leg of the table until you are finished.
11. Well done! You’re almost there! All that remains now is to marvel at how your square gift now resembles a television aerial being struck by lightning. Place under Christmas tree at the bottom of the pile, so no-one can see it. Untie cat and cuddle liberally. Pour yourself a large one, put your feet up and relax, for approximately one year.
12. Oh, and don’t forget to have a good Christmas!