When it comes to making presents look appealing, Jenny Morrill is reminded every year that, well, she HATES Christmas wrapping.
Hello. Have you bought some shit for people because that’s what you’re supposed to do?
You should probably wrap it, because I’ve learned from experience that handing people a Lidl carrier bag with stains on it doesn’t go down well. Especially if the bag is the present.
I’m no expert at wrapping presents. When it’s time for my annual wrapping marathon, I visit the local church and ask God if he will give me 20 fingers, just for the Christmas period. He hasn’t got back to me so far, so I have to make do with Sellotape, 10 fingers that appear to have gone on strike, and a horribly optimistic feeling that I might be inexplicably good at wrapping presents this year.
Every year I’m disappointed, which is why my loved ones will receive vouchers next Christmas. Only they won’t, because I’ll forget I’m awful at wrapping presents.
I’m going to take you through my annual present wrapping experience, so you can learn from my mistakes.
Tips before you begin:
• Go back and have done all your Christmas shopping before 1 December.
Go on. What are you waiting for? I can’t do your Christmas shopping for you; I’m not your mother.
• Watch Christmas 24/Fireplace for Your Home. To make you feel Christmassy.
Ideally, watch a thing about a career woman who moves back home for Christmas and realises that what she wanted all along was to be married and have loads of kids with that guy she went to school with. That’s festive.
• Make sure the house is empty.
Not only do you not want your loved ones getting in the way, you also don’t want them to see the hilarious novelty mug/bath salts/ukulele you’ve bought them. Or, if you’re me, you don’t want your boyfriend to know that you’ve wrapped up his spare glasses for a laugh.
OK, now we’re all prepared, let’s get wrapping.
Step 1: Gather your equipment
You will need:
Wrapping paper. Three miles of wrapping paper. Or a Daily Star, I don’t really care.
Sellotape. Twenty-three rolls. If you have more than one present to wrap, buy more than 23 rolls.
Scissors. Ideally with yesterday’s bacon fat on them, but only realise this once you’ve started using them.
Gin. All the gin in the world.
Step 2: Wrapping your first present
Start with something easy, like a square box. If you didn’t buy a square present, you have no one to blame but yourself. I don’t care if your kid wants a guitar, they’re getting a box of dishwasher tablets, because that’s easy to wrap.
If you haven’t already started drinking your gin, do that now.
Now you’re ready to begin. First, cut a length of paper that’s slightly too short to use. Put that aside for another, smaller present that you’re not sure you actually have, but never mind about that now.
Cut another bit of paper. This time, make sure it’s twice the size you need, because you don’t want this to be easy.
Sort of roll the box up in the paper. Be sure not to roll it straight, you’re going to want to have a massive long bit at one end. Drink some more gin, and make a note to ask Google how to fix that long bit.
“Resist temptation to eat the Toblerones you bought for people. Even though that would be infinitely easier than wrapping them. Try not to throw yourself into Netflix’s Fireplace for Your Home over having to wrap those Toblerones.”
Scrunch one end up and tape it. Ideally, the bit of tape will have been stuck to your jeans for a while, so it’s now covered in blue fluff and doesn’t stick. All the other bits of Sellotape are now stuck to your fingers.
At this point, make sure to remind God about your request for 20 fingers. God will reply by making your corner bit go all weird. Have another slug of gin.
Get more tape, and finally get one end bit sort of stuck down. If all is going to plan, your present will now have slid down and out of the other end, meaning you have one flattened, scrunched-up end bit, and a present that’s three feet away from where it started.
Step 3: Relaxing
It is important to take deep breaths when your present wrapping goes wrong. Ideally, those deep breaths will include nicotine. Remind yourself that your entire family isn’t a bastard, even though it’s their fault you were born in the first place. Blame all of them for this, even your cousin that you only see at funerals.
Have a cry into the gin you’re drinking. Take some time out to laugh at the woman on Christmas 24, as she accidentally falls onto the guy she likes when they’re on an ice rink. Yawn. Resist temptation to eat the Toblerones you bought for people. Even though that would be infinitely easier than wrapping them. Try not to throw yourself into Netflix’s Fireplace for Your Home over having to wrap those Toblerones.
Briefly have hope that Christmas was in August and you’ve missed it. Realise that’s not a thing.
Soldier on, like an overworked Christmas elf, even though you haven’t actually wrapped one present yet; and why do I always have to do all the wrapping?
Retrieve present from three feet away and shove it back into the wrapping paper. Now is the time to be glad you didn’t stick to that diet, because you can jam the end of the present against your huge thighs while you wrestle the Sellotape on. Have you had any gin in the last five minutes? You know what to do.
Punch wrapping paper flat. If it’s already flat, punch it anyway. Consider putting ’60s classics’ playlist on YouTube to cheer you up, but decide against it because you can’t be bothered. Start singing Petula Clark’s Downtown instead, while watching the end of the Christmas 24 movie. She’s learned the meaning of Christmas or some such bollocks. Ignore it.
Utilise both hands, one leg and part of head to get other end of the wrapping paper flat. Headbutt Sellotape into place. That’ll do.
Attempt to write ‘To Mum, lots of love’ on gift tag, but realise that pen isn’t working, and also that you forgot to buy gift tags. Instead of gift tags, use bit of Christmas card sent to you on 10 October by that hideous woman at work who does exercise in her lunch break. Print out a photo of that woman, pin it to door and throw stones at it for five minutes.
Step 5: Wrapping the other presents
Great. As if the box wasn’t enough, you’re now left with a hexagon, a Yankee Candle and one of those fucking star shaped bubble bath sets. Why didn’t you think of this when you bought them? Because you’re a bad person, that’s why.
Now don’t you wish you’d bought everyone a box of dishwasher tablets? The ungrateful bastards don’t deserve oddly shaped things. Especially your cousin.
By now a new Christmas 24 movie should have started. This one will be about Santa, only no one believes he’s Santa or everyone has to convince the main character that he’s Santa. Whatever. Top up your gin glass. Eat all the ham in the fridge. Stare into space for a bit.
The guy playing Santa is a fucking terrible actor.
Ok, here’s how to wrap a star shaped box:
Cut your paper into five points.
Realise that it doesn’t even begin to fit your present and wonder why the hell you did that.
“If you didn’t buy a square present, you have no one to blame but yourself. I don’t care if your kid wants a guitar, they’re getting a box of dishwasher tablets, because that’s easy to wrap.”
Maybe you were sort of planning to cut out two star shaped bits and somehow tape them together.
Attempt to kick yourself in the face. (Be careful not to kick over the gin.)
Step 6: Yelling
This is everyone’s fault but yours. Christmas is shit, and you need to spend the next 15 minutes shouting about this. Resist the urge to phone the Samaritans, they’ve probably got better things to do. Instead, shout at your table, your settee, or a passing dog walker.
Realise that you still have 37 more presents to wrap. Wish Mary could somehow stuff Jesus back up her fanny so Christmas wouldn’t be a thing.
Play Freecell on the computer for a bit (45 minutes).
Look down at floor. See that floor is still covered in wrapping paper bits, fuzzy Sellotape bits, three pairs of scissors, and a pile of polyhedral presents. Remember that no one else will wrap these presents and that it falls to you to stick crappy Santa paper to them. Also remember that recipients will tear the paper off, look disappointed, say “Oh, you shouldn’t have,” then immediately discard the present until they can eBay it in January.
Go on Amazon, buy job lot of gift bags/boxes for £10. Throw wrapping paper in bin. Put feet up and watch the end of The 12 Dates of Christmas starring that one out of Saved by the Bell.
Wrapping is done. Happy Christmas and all that.
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Jenny writes for Den of Geek and anywhere else that will listen. To date, the most Trios she has eaten in a row is 20. Her blog is the place to be if you like Bungle and expired food. worldofcrap.co.uk