Given Mr B's deadline that we must have all our Christmas presents bought and wrapped - plus our Christmas cards written and posted - by the end of November, I have spent the afternoon in Gift Wrap Land.
It's not a place I would recommend visiting too often, only when absolutely necessary. It's not, like, a holiday location where you can rest and relax with a Piña Colada every afternoon. Gift Wrap Land is a land of Sellotape
and scissors, of star-shaped tags and glitter, of gift wrap and writing paper. This afternoon, our lIrving room became Gift Wrap Land, just for an hour or two or three.
I have been promising myself for years
that one day I will sign up for a course on Perfect Gift Wrapping. Picture the scene: the family arrives downstairs on Christmas morning (Santa having "been") clutching presents from their stocking / sack / pillow-case to see even more gifts stacked under
the Christmas tree. There amongst them will be my presents, looking for all the world as if they have been gift-wrapped at Harrods, with glittery bows and colourful labels written in a fine, italic hand. Everyone will want to open my presents first of all,
so splendid do they look....
Uh-oh. Houston, we have a problem. My superior gift wrap may well raise undue expectations about the present within. It will be a classic case of style over substance. Perhaps
I should stick to my usual style of gift wrapping - clumsy corners and lashings of Sellotape.
I think the Royal Family have the right idea. Apparently it is their custom and practice to search out the most
useless presents with which to delight each other. So, for example, Prince Charles might buy his mother (that's the Queen, don't you know) a bread bin and she might reciprocate by buying her son a clothes prop. I think I may suggest this to the family though
I am not sure it will go down too well,especially with the Young Ones who won't want to go to school and tell their friends that their grandparents gave them a lemon squeezer for Christmas.
The living room
floor is littered with gift wrap and tags, Christmas cards, address labels, and the tools of the trade - scissors, sticky tape, pens and pencils. So impressed is Mr B with this hive of industry that he says he will cook the dinner, even though it is definitely
my turn. I consider whether I might actually have the better deal - then I look at the Christmas card list and count up just how many have to be written.
I decide that I will tackle one page per evening. In
this way I will easily meet Mr B's deadline. I look at the cards we have bought and try to decide which card we should send to which people. I remember (too late) that last year I promised myself that we would choose just one card to send to everyone. I need
to write this down somewhere so that I remember it for next year. You heard it here first.
Several people have changed their addresses since last year; some people have added to their families; sadly, others
have died. I hate crossing names off the Christmas card list, it's like losing them all over again.
Oh dear, I need to write Christmas letters to enclose with certain cards - but I can't really write
this until The Twins are born. There is no way our Christmas Letter 2014 can omit this most important event of the year but it means there is a little pile of unsealed cards awaiting insertion of my letter when written.
Mr B says he will handle the sending of e-cards to our Friends Overseas. Part of me wants to argue that there are some special people who warrant a "proper" card, sent courtesy of Royal Mail, whatever the cost. Then I look round the living room at the
mess I have created in just one short afternoon.
I decide that perhaps, all things considered, I should be Grateful for Small Mercies.