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And then the Elves quit…

I have fond childhood memories of the build up to Christmas. My siblings and I used to gather around the dining table and do Christmas-themed crafts. Ink stamps, paint, brown paper, blank cards and last year’s Christmas cards were all laid out. As we listened to festive music on the CD player we would chat amiably and make our own wrapping paper, tags and cards.

I wanted to introduce this tradition to my own children so that they too could discover the joys of working together to produce beautiful wrapping paper and feel a sense of pride when they saw the Christmas presents wrapped up in it sitting under the tree.

After gathering all my supplies, I laid them out on the table, popped on some Christmas crooners and called my little darlings to the table. Only two came. One refused point blank; saying he’d rather play with his Lego. Deep breath. It would still be fun.

Paint was rationed out and I convinced the kids to do straight lines of their chosen stamp, then switch sides of the table and stamp another straight line. Each decided that it was vitally important to critique the others’ work, thus causing arguments and tears whilst I tried to hang paper with wet paint on it across my kitchen cupboard doors. After completing a strip of paper about two metres long both declared they were bored and wandered off.

I was left with a roll of wrapping paper, a mess and lots of work to do. My elves had quit.

A slightly anxious call to my Mum resulted in a few excellent tips about decorating your own wrapping paper:

  • Stamp randomly. Don’t try and create anything too perfect or symmetrical.
  • Use ink, not paint. It dries quicker so you’re not stuck with wet paper everywhere.
  • All Elves have very short attention spans. Apparently we have different memories of our Christmas crafting experiences.

I’m going to have another bash at this activity. I’m determined to have beautiful brown paper and crafted tags ready for the wrapping our presents. I’ve decided against involving the Elves. I’m not sure how Santa does it.