4 December

In chains

If you have kids, get them making paper chains because they are fun and festive.

The old-fashioned way is to glue strips of paper into loops, linking them as you go, but it’s easier, faster and less messy to use staples. And it’s easier again to use streamers (the boat kind rather than crepe paper) as links: just tear them off into the appropriate lengths and staple them together and you can churn out metres and metres of chain per hour. (This will be part of the appeal: small children will be thrilled that they’ve made something long and larger children will want to hang chains in every room. I draw the line at the wet areas myself but why not let them go gangbusters everywhere else?[1])

To be green, cut up old glossy magazines for the links and use paste made of sustainable flour as the glue.

Jeremy made these chains from magazines when he was in high school: he targeted pictures with strong colours and got quite a colour scheme going.

I roamed around my back garden this afternoon[2] noting where the best holly was and I’m glad to say that I have some spitefully prickly stuff that looks very Christmassy. In fact, I’m wondering if I should clear it with Health and Safety before we decorate.

[1] My father came home late after an office Christmas party when I was a kid, sneaking in the front door without turning on the light so that he wouldn’t disturb anyone, and a paper chain came adrift from its mooring and tried to strangle him. He fought it off successfully but the surprise attack unnerved him and he wouldn’t let us drape paper chains over anything he counted as a fire exit from that point on.

[2] Or, as I more commonly refer to it, my back jungle.

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