You finally snagged the toy that's been on the top of your kid's Christmas wishlist for months - now you just have to wrap it up, shove it under the tree, and bask in parental pride. ("Fine work, me. Fine work.") Well, wait. Is the toy difficult to assemble? Because nothing quite dampens the giddy thrill of watching your kid rip open a gift only to open the box and learn that you must get through 57 indestructible plastic ties, follow 17 pages of wordless instructions, insert 12 batteries that you don't have (and now the stores are all closed), and wait five hours for some software to install. ("Here's a... um... pretty bow to play with, honey. This is going to take a while.")
Photo by cjmacer/Shutterstock
It's good to plan ahead. Here's a toy-assembly timeline to get you started so you can wake up to pure Christmas magic - no assembly required.
At Least a Week Before Christmas
Strategise a plan for the big, complicated toys. I'm talking about bikes, cars that kids actually ride in, four-storey dollhouses with elevators, and wood train tables in elaborate forest settings that look straight out of Robin Hood.
Measure your doorways. Sometimes, parents will spend hours putting together a large toy only to realise that the assembled product can't get into the room it's supposed to end up in. Check the dimensions of the completed project before you start.
Read the instructions and put together a toolkit. Nope, not everything can be assembled with your IKEA Allen wrench.
Make sure you have all the parts. Because the last thing you want to do is spend Christmas Day on hold with customer support because you're missing piece AR-723.
Consider outsourcing. If you realistically don't have time to put the toy together, or don't want to, you may find it worthwhile to hire someone to do it for you. You can also get help from Airtasker, or you can ask a handy friend with time to spare.
Secure a hiding spot. It isn't easy to hide gifts from your kids (believe me, they know about that spot at the top of your office closet), let alone abnormally massive gifts. Ask a neighbour if you can keep an assembled bike in her garage or basement until the big day.
Figure out alternative gift wrapping. For very large gifts, such as bikes, parents typically stick a bow on the assembled product, and then say, "Close your eyes... ta-da!" Done. But if you do wish to wrap the toy, Amy E. Goodman, the senior lifestyle editor at Zulily, has this tip: Use a large piece of festive fabric or even a table cloth. "Simply gather the fabric around the item and tie the top with ribbon, string or yarn," she says.
Start assembling that bad boy.
A Few Days Before Christmas
If you purchased a gaming console for your kid, this would be a good time to plug it in and install some games - a process that can take several hours. However, older kids might want to do the unboxing and installing themselves as part of the full experience.
The Day Before Christmas
Make sure to have some batteries and wire cutters on hand for the other toys your child might receive. AA and AAA are the common ones.
Now sit back and wait for your kid to wake up to her brand new toy with glee. You did it. Fine work.