I don't own an electric mixer so I scratched that instruction and made it applicable to me:
"With all the hopes and dreams of a small child, mix your butter, which is way too cold, with your sugar using brute strength and a whisk. Let your whisk get completely clogged with hard butter chunks until it looks deformed and ready to break before realizing that you didn't think this through and you really should look into that whole 'patience' thing as your butter would have been much easier to work with had you actually waited until it was room temperature."
Onto Plan B, my amended first step:
"Put some hot water in the bottom of your sink and place your bowl of cold butter and sugar into it while beating the snot out of it with a wooden spoon to try and 'soften' it up Soprano style. Once the butter is soft, but not melted, take it out and put it on the counter where you laugh at the recipe stating "3 minutes with an electric mixer" and begin the long process of beating, knowing full well that you still have to look forward to doing this again to add your flour!"
Arms feeling the burn, I achieved my first step with minimal sweat and looked onto my next step which read, "Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated." I like the idea of turning my poor arms down to a lower mixing speed, but mentally knew it wouldn't quite work that way.
My next step actually went like this:
"Send a prayer for your arm muscles and throw in an extra hope that they don't fall off. Begin mixing bits of the flour at a time, trying all the while to not curse your lovely husband who wanted sugar cookies in the first place. Take a break halfway through, cry for a little while, think of ways to market 'non-electric baking prep' into a massive workout program, and pray some more for your arms. Continue the sadistic mixing process until the stuff you no longer want to make, resembles dough. You will know you are done when you are confident that your arms won't have the strength to pull up your pants tomorrow, creating a sufficient enough punishment of 'official pants puller-upper' for your lovely sugar cooking loving husband."
Feeling happy that the hard part was over, I read my next 'basic' step of, "Shape the dough into 4 disks and roll each between 2 sheets of wax paper to 1/8 in thick". Onto problem 2: I don't own a rolling pin. This required further amendments to my loathsome "basic sugar cookie recipe".
Give up NOW! That should have been my next step, but feeling at the point of no return, I started a small search for a left over cardboard tube from one of the hundreds of partially used cling film boxes all over our kitchen (US translation: Saran Wrap tubes). Tube found, I cracked on with the rolling but without much weight to my cardboard rolling pin, it took a bit of time to get it to 1/8 in thick. In the middle of this process, my lovely husband came home and I made sure to glower at him lovingly, to which he decided the best thing to ask was, "What's wrong?".
I verbally repeated all above steps, including the step of trying not to curse the person I was speaking to! I
Waiting for the dough to become workable, I got to hear my lovely husband tell tales of his sugar cookie making memories: "I don't remember my mom and grandma having to do all this. Are you sure you need to put it in the fridge? I'm pretty sure the kind we made as kids was much easier." Holding back the urge to use my Soprano technique on him with the wooden spoon, I finally just informed him that since he had only been a child making sugar cookies, his mom and grandma would have been nice to him and not make him do the hard bits, thus he was speaking bollocks.
Taking my dough out of the fridge, I found it best to eat the dough while cutting out festive shapes, that way I wouldn't have to keep up this horrible mess of making sugar cookies!
I only completed 2 batches last night and still have a few more to go today. We shall see how it goes...