Friday, December 3, 2021

The List

 In order to stay organized and know how far behind I am, I am a chronic list maker. In full disclosure, in making a list I will add things that have already been done. Getting to check them off when I first review the list gives me a feeling of accomplishment. This morning I was going over my (ever present) list. Of course around the holidays, the list gets longer and more expensive.

Just after Thanksgiving the list is exciting - getting the tree, putting the tree up, pulling out wrapping paper and ribbons, finding the wreath, hanging the wreath, making a gift list (yes, sub lists are part of the madness). Each morning, I review the running list, checking off what has been done and adding new chores. Every day or two I redo the list, if nothing else just to clean it up and see exactly where I stand.

By this week (the first week in December) the list becomes a bit more onerous. I am into finishing the shopping - for those impossible to buy for, trying to find the box of ornaments I bought last year on sale after Christmas (naturally they were not put with the other ornaments), ingredients for my Christmas baking. . . 

Needless to say, the list, once a highlight, now becomes my nemesis.  Suddenly, instead of keeping me organized, I find it a drudge. I start questioning my ambitions. Will the neighbors really appreciate homemade treats or will things from the bakery do? After all it is the thought that counts. Maybe the buffet doesn't need to have the traditional decorations, surely a simple bowl of glass balls will do. And the back door does not need a wreath. 

Is this the beginning of the "Rat Race"? Are my days built around checking off the list or enjoying friends and family? As I read over the "To Do's", the list doesn't stop. The more I read, the farther behind I get. How does Santa do this? Of course, he does have elves. Perhaps I need elves. (No doubt I can find them the same place the Housekeeping Fairy is hiding.)

This is when I decide to shed the list and live in the moment. It is a feeling of freedom, relief from the stress. That is until I realize that I haven't found that gift for my nephew. I'm at the grocery store and cannot, for the life of me, remember what I need for the iced oatmeal cookies. I realize that not only have I not boxed the gifts I need to mail, the gifts are not wrapped and I cannot find a box large enough.

How can everything in the Courier and Ives prints look so ideal, festive, and fun?  There is not a list in sight.  Why should I be encumbered by words on a piece of paper? Out, Out, Damn List. I'll just add 1 last item - "Scratch List". After all, Christmas is going to be here, list or no list. It may not be perfect, some things may not happen, and, no doubt, I will be less organized. But, who wants a perfect, beautiful, delightful, happy, organized holiday anyway?

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