THERE is nothing quite like Christmas morning with young children. Their wide-eyed excitement, their unbridled joy as they tear open presents that Santa has delivered... only to turn the living-room floor into a hellish flat-pack tangle of twisted wires, tiny screws, batteries (if you’re lucky) and seemingly thousands of bits of plastic that you must somehow transform into the toy of their dreams. Thanks a bunch, Santa.

By mid-morning you’re a hollow-eyed wreck, twitching and visibly ageing as you attempt to follow an instruction leaflet that might as well be in Hungarian.

Some people are born practical and the rest of us haven’t got a clue. The other day I helped my sister build my new wardrobe. When I say ‘helped’ I mean I hovered uselessly, occasionally holding out a screwdriver or a little nut and bolt type thingie while she put in all the graft.

My sister is world championship level when it comes to assembling flat pack furniture. Not only does she know how to do it - she weirdly enjoys the challenge of instructions and finding out where all the screw thingies go.

For this wardrobe she didn’t even have instructions - it’s secondhand so it came in bits and pieces. Yet somehow she knew where it all went. Within a couple of hours she’d turned what to me were random slabs of wood into a triple wardrobe, with set of drawers. And I never heard her swear once. I can’t even hang a picture up without yelling a string of expletives.

My sister tackles all sorts of jobs around her house, from tiling the bathroom to sealing windows. She’ll have a go at anything. She’s made curtains, laid flooring, hung blinds. She has a toolbox that she takes pride in.

Over the years she’s assembled flatpack furniture for me; she rolls up her sleeves and cracks on, while I make coffee and hunt for little bowls to put the screws in. Her teenage son has inherited her flatpack wizardry. He built his own bed, and once assembled a coffee table for me in half an hour. I wouldn’t have known where to start.

Someone sent me a nice email recently and said: “You seem to have a lot of common sense”. But I really don’t, not when it comes to practical things. Tasks that other people find straightforward give me a headache. All I can do is paint walls (although my sister’s method is way more efficient) and change a lightbulb, and I could possibly bleed a radiator if pushed, and that’s pretty much it. It feels like an achievement if I put new batteries in the remote control. I hung up some fairy lights recently, which turned into such an annoying effort I needed a sit down.

“Don’t ever expect me to put up shelves,” an ex said to me, not long after we got together. I couldn’t even accuse him of being sexist, because I can’t put shelves up either. It’s not just DIY - I’m useless with cars too. Years ago I went to car maintenance evening classes, on a whim, and even though it was pretty basic stuff, I didn’t understand any of it.

So for those of you who will spend the next few days trying in vain to assemble flat-pack gifts, pulling your hair out as you fail to work out what goes where, and why in God's name is there no screw for that bit...I feel your pain.