If children are crafting your wrapping paper, they’re likely to make a mess, so dress them in aprons or sacrificial clothes, spread newspapers out to billy-oh and don’t let the kids out of the space until they’re scrubbed clean. (You don’t want scarlet handprints on the walls and glitter footprints in the carpet. Not even at Christmas.)
Start at least a few days before you plan to wrap the presents because if you’re using glue or paint, you’ll need time for it to dry. You’ll also need a drying space: the clothesline will be fine if the weather is fine, otherwise you may need to set up clothes horses on the veranda or in the garage.
Although it’s Sunday, the party cubs and Gemma and I were in the office by 10am and we pulled down all the holly and the ivy and the pine boughs and gathered up all the punch cups and pickled onion jars and gradually turned a bacchanalian forest back into a conference room. When our colleagues come in on Monday, it will be as if the party never happened. (And from the amount of wassail consumed, it’s fair to bet it won’t even be a fond memory for some of them.)
 Old T-shirts that you’re happy to throw out if the paint won’t wash out, for example.
 Aren’t we going to miss the actual paper of newspapers when they’re finally all digital?
 You could argue that putting parcels with wet paint under your tree is a way to ensure that the carpet harmonises with the colour scheme of your wrapping, but it’s not a good way.
 But not in the kids’ rooms, even if you’re short of space. My friend Jill’s busy son William escaped from his cot one naptime and rolled in wet paintings until he looked like fairy bread and then cuddled up to every soft toy he had and gave them all multi-coloured measles.