Tuesday, December 8, 2015

My Christmas To-Do List(s)

If you’re anything like me, around this time of year you start to make a to-do list for the upcoming holidays. It probably looks something like this:

  • Dig around in attic to find all 27 boxes of Christmas decorations

  • Assemble and decorate Christmas tree
  • Set up antique nativity scene in location unreachable by children
  • Borrow neighbor’s 40-foot ladder to hang icicles

  • Check all 300 strands of lights to see which ones work and which ones you saved to cannibalize for spare bulbs
  • Dig out secret family recipes for the 34 kinds of cookies requested by various family members; make and freeze dough for frantic last-minute baking
  • Purchase two exactly identical Advent calendars and fill with exactly identical candies to avoid sibling wars (goal: December 1; actual: December 7)
  • Buy present for family Yankee Swap, appropriate for any age and gender, $10 maximum

  • Shop for Christmas outfits for both kids since they already grew out of the ones you bought at last year’s after-Christmas sale
  • Plan and shop for Christmas dinner
  • Attend Christmas Eve candlelight services; make sure children don’t set hymnals on fire
  • Convince children to write letters to Santa in order to determine their must-have presents for the year
  • Shop for those must-have toys at 8 different malls

  • Hide purchased presents in places inaccessible to children; make sure I remember where these places are
  • Go through CD collection and place appropriate Christmas music selection in each car
  • Shop for, wrap, pack, and mail gifts to faraway relatives (goal: November 24; actual: December 24)
  • Assemble multiple toys for children on Christmas Eve; allow time for disassembling and reassembling in the case the item does not fit through the doorway or is assembled backwards

  • Remind husband that every gift on his Amazon Wish List costs either $1800 or $3.50; warn him that coal in his stocking is imminent if situation is not remedied

Making a list like this seems like it should help to eliminate some of the stress of the season. After all, if you’re organized enough, nothing can come up as a last-minute emergency, right? But for me, looking at a list like this just makes me feel overwhelmed and inadequate. How on earth can I get all these things done in the short few weeks between now and Christmas? And what will my family and friends think of me if I DON’T get it all done??

So I decided to make a different Christmas to-do list. This list helps to remind me what Christmas is really about, and what is most important to celebrate.

  •  Tell children why the family Christmas decorations are so special; show them photos of my childhood Christmas tree
  •  Sing Christmas carols with children while decorating the Christmas tree

  •  Set up unbreakable nativity scene for children; help them act out the Christmas story. Allow the sheep to speak in a human voice and do not question Magi named Chase, Marshall, and Sky
  •  Invite neighbors over for a cup of coffee and store-bought Christmas cookies
  •  Admire the glow of the strings of light on houses throughout my neighborhood

  •  Bake sugar cookies with the kids; tell them about baking cookies with my mom when I was their age; allow them to decorate sugar cookies with 33 red hots and half a pound of green sugar per cookie if desired
  •  Take turns reading part of the Christmas story every morning when opening the doors on the Advent calendars; talk about what it must have felt like for Mary and Joseph
  •  Enjoy listening to family stories at annual family Christmas party, even ones I’ve heard 100 times before
  •  Look at photos from last Christmas and marvel at how much the children have grown and changed since last year

  •  Add some extra groceries to my cart and donate to local food bank
  •  Attend Christmas Eve candlelight services; watch the children’s glowing, candlelit, wonder-filled faces instead of worrying that they’ll set the hymnals on fire
  •  Enjoy the delight and wonder of my children’s belief in Santa
  •  Let the kids each pick out a toy to donate to Toys for Tots
  •  Worry less about the gifts I’m buying and concentrate more on the people I’m buying them for
  •  Sit in the living room with a cup of cocoa, soft Christmas music playing, and no lights on except the ones on the Christmas tree and the snow village
  •  Pray for faraway relatives; enjoy photos of their holiday preparations
  •  Appreciate the hours my parents spent assembling multiple toys for me when I was a child
  •   Remind husband and children that they are precious gifts to me

I’m pretty sure those are to-do’s I can get done. 

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