I thought I was doing well this Christmas season, having made a list and checked it twice (OK, I admit, more like two hundred times… per day), the halls were decked early (fa la la la la, la la, la la), I shopped early, and when I did have to go out in December, I shopped at off-peak times. I was organized and on time… or so I thought.
I hadn’t anticipated that my biggest hurdle this year would be wrapping the presents.
The challenge this year is twofold. Ivy the Wonder Cat seems to have made herself at home in my writing room, the room where I keep all the wrapping supplies. Over the past year, this is where she made the habit of going for her morning naps, which sometimes stretched into afternoon naps, sometimes concluded by evening naps.
When I realized that this was THE spot where she felt most comfortable and secure, I moved her cat bed there which seemed to have sealed the deal and her specific purpose for that room.
In previous years, I would hide the presents in the closet of that room, and then when she wasn’t looking, I’d run into the room, close the door and then a couple of hours later, I would walk out with the presents wrapped and ready for the big day.
With Ivy having claimed this room as her own and spending most of her time here, evicting her even for a couple of hours would not go unnoticed. The meowing at the door in protest would surely drown out my gift wrapping music.
The next challenge is Ivy’s never ending fascination with tissue paper. It is her most favourite toy (what can I say, she’s a cheap date) whether it means stomping around in it, diving through it or rolling around in it. I just have to put out three sheets of fresh tissue paper on the floor somewhere and let her go in her “happy place”.
However, when tissue paper is used for other purposes (i.e., wrapping gifts, opening a box of mail order goods, or coming home with a gift) it doesn’t matter where I am in the house, if she hears the slightest crumpling of tissue paper, she comes running, thinking that it is (in Oprah Winfrey’s exciting announcement voice:) “plaaaaay-tiiiiime!”
If I let Ivy in and she starts stomping on the paper, sniffing the gifts and staring at me as if to say, “Why aren’t you playing with me?” the gift wrapping process could take double or triple the time required.
For these two reasons, you’d think I’d needed to call in Tom Cruise to assist with the mission impossible of moving out the wrapping supplies from the closet to another room in the house, and to wrap the gifts so quietly, a tissue paper crumpling noise doesn’t register over 42 decibels.
So I started smuggling the wrapping supplies to my bedroom, just a few at a time, to be as inconspicuous as possible about the mission to come. Then I moved the gifts to the bedroom, also a few at a time, making things seem as normal as possible. So far so good.
Three days later, the gifts and the wrapping supplies were stacked up in my bedroom, looking like a scene from Santa’s workshop.
It ended up playing in my favour as there was one night last week I was startled awake at 2:30 a.m. and couldn’t fall back asleep. Instead of reading, my usual tactic to combat sleeplessness, I tried wrapping a few gifts to see if I could do it without waking Ivy up.
By 3:30, I had wrapped 5 gifts, I was ready to head back to bed, and I only heard a whisper of a meow at the bedroom door that quickly faded.
My next attempt was just now, on a quiet Sunday morning, when Ivy was well into her morning nap routine. I had the radio in the writing room tuned to some gentle instrumental holiday music, hoping to create an auditory distraction to drown out the rustling tissue paper, one floor away, at the opposite end of the house.
It all worked out. The gifts are wrapped! Now I just have to smuggle the remaining wrapping supplies back to the closet in the writing room, and to do so hopefully, before Easter.
It makes me laugh to think that I have to practically hide in a closet to wrap the gifts, almost feeling like I was doing something wrong. The fact that I had to strategize for the right time and location to wrap gifts is a pretty funny prospect, but I count this as one of the joys of having a curious and extroverted cat, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Merry Christmas everyone!
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Have a great day,