I am embarrassingly bad at wrapping. I always assumed it was a skill I'd magically acquire when I grew up, like getting up before 11 at the weekend and thinking of different things to cook every evening instead of falling back on pasta and pesto yet again, but still I continue to give gifts that look as if they were wrapped by a left-handed sealion in a hurry.
This is extra frustrating because when I was a student I spent almost all one Christmas vacation working for Lush, and I must have wrapped literally hundreds of gift boxes. Apparently this only taught me to wrap something the exact dimensions of a Lush gift box, which none of my presents are (if you were expecting a Lush gift box from me: sorry). I did learn, however, that if you run decorative metallic ribbon between your thumb and one blade of a pair of scissors it goes all curly, for which tip I am very grateful.
I looked for some suitable music to put me in the mood, but all I had in the way of Christmas songs was Simon & Garfunkel's Seven O'Clock News/Silent Night in which a hauntingly beautiful rendition of the carol is overlaid with a hauntingly dreadful news broadcast. Oh those witty subversive lads.
Later went to the Christmas Carol Concert at the Horniman Museum (a superb local museum I strongly recommend if you're down this way - especially the stuffed walrus), wearing possibly the cheapest Santa hat in Greater London. (It cost a pound, has a manky furry trim and silver sparkly stars and was much admired. Someone said it was the nicest Santa hat they'd seen all day.)
After a few singalong carols it was announced that the choir were going to do 'some non-Christmassy songs'. I was none too pleased with this - the event was billed as a Christmas Carol Concert, and if I'd wanted to hear Fly Me To The Moon I'd have gone to see Rat Pack instead. I would rather have heard a group of primary school children sing Little Donkey, and that's saying something.
More group singing, then a little girl called Acacia (poor thing) performed a 'carol' she had written herself, mostly about presents and nice things to eat. It almost all rhymed, and some of it scanned too. Actually it was quite sweet curses curses wot am i saing.
Incidentally, 'Gloria' in the context of Ding Dong Merrily On High has 33 syllables. Having to sing it twice every chorus is nothing short of cruel, especially as the verses are only two lines long.
A triumphant finish with We Wish You A Merry Christmas left me in a very festive frame of mind. I could almost imagine that it had been snowing constantly throughout, rather than piddling with rain.
Not quite, though.