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A handy checklist for Assembly Afternoon

Today, our final instalment on Prepping for the Holidays: Sanity: Is it overrated?   

Today, our final instalment on Prepping for the Holidays: Sanity: Is it overrated?


Or, all I want for Christmas is a G-17A size-12 Allen key.


After the excitement of Christmas morning comes another traditional holiday event: Assembly Afternoon.


In olden days, Assembly Afternoon did not exist. A ball was a ball. A jump rope was a jump rope. And a quoit and skittle set was ... actually, I have no idea what that was. But the point is, it didn’t need to be put together. You got your quoit and your skittle and you were good to go.


Now that we live in more convenient times, it’s likely that at least one gift you receive will have to be assembled, mounted or, it may seem, built entirely from scratch. This is because manufacturers ship their products in parts for obvious reasons: They can’t figure out how the heck to put the thing together, either.


To be ready for Assembly Afternoon, here’s what you’ll need:


1. A translator.
These days most items come with instructions that have been thoughtfully translated into a wide variety of languages. These may include Klingon, Hobbit and British semaphore, but they will never, ever include whatever language you speak.


2. The home phone number of a hardware store owner.
Before Christmas, take time to do a full inventory of what tools and equipment you have. Now know that whatever you already own is not what you are going to need to do the task at hand.
Another important note here: Any box that says “batteries included,” doesn’t.


3. A whacking thing.
At some point it will become clear that Piece C is not going to go into Slot A without some serious persuasion. Excellent whacking things I have used include Nutcracker dolls and that extra piece that didn’t seem to fit anywhere. Tip: Do not use your spouse’s new BlackBerry. Trust me on this one.


4. Assistance.
While most assembly efforts are one-person jobs, it’s traditional to have someone on hand to provide helpful comments such as, “That’s not how I’d do it,” and “Too bad you have to do that or you could be having a drink like me.” While it’s not OK to use the whacking thing on this person, it is perfectly acceptable to give them a gift next year that comes in a ka-gillion pieces.


Wishing you all a happy holiday and joyous Assembly Afternoon!
Anne

 
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