IN the grand dining hall of Glenmuick House, near Ballater, a small group of women sits in the glow of a log fire creating Christmas present exteriors that look like expensive props from glossy magazines, writes Joan Anderson.
But these are real women with ambitions beyond the annual battle with sticky tape, ripped parcels and paper just an inch too short to cover the delights within.
If you had asked me a week ago what I would like to attend a class on, Expert Christmas Present Wrapping would not have appeared anywhere...even on the reserve list. Yet here I am with a box of children’s books perfectly clothed in military lines of toy soldiers while Humpty Dumpty dangles on the edge, safe in the knowledge that the King’s Men are on duty. They won’t be needed. Humpty’s backside is invisibly, but firmly, attached to this parcel, itself held together by three wee bits of equally invisible tape. It’s a work of art.
Memories of Christmas Parcels Past with yards of tape, corners bursting through the wrapping and being down to the last sheet of grotty paper that looks like the designer had too much sherry trifle have faded away. Friends will think the Elves did it while I was sleeping.
This new skill is a direct result of a couple of hours in the gentle tutelage of Daphne Rose, the woman who once gift wrapped Craigievar Castle, and whose abilities are based on years of extending the joy of Christmas by adding the wow factor...often with bits and bobs earmarked for the bin.
She is one of several tutors whose diverse talents are on offer at The Style Academy, a new venture for Upper Deeside with a delightful feelgood twist as the class participants are treated to a sumptuous afternoon tea before being sent on their merry way.
Chez Anderson may be treeless this year. People can just come and admire my parcel creativity and – in place of books - the children will get selection boxes...beautifully wrapped of course.
For further information about The Style Academy, contact Sue Rhodes, Head of Admissions, on 07787 975743, or go to WWW.THE-STYLE-ACADEMY.COM.