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Just One Thing To Do This Week: Make List Check It Twice

on December 28, 2017 - 8:43am
Los Alamos

It is an annual mental event. Christmas is not yet over when I start compiling my list of things to do differently next year. The purpose of the list is to make the holiday more manageable and more organized and yes, hopefully more fun and more memorable. But mostly I want to make the holiday easier on everyone, myself included.

Our family is growing by leaps and bounds. Thanks to the magic of blended families we are up to 14 grandchildren. Fourteen grandchildren that with few exceptions, do not need more stuff.  Last year after we opened gifts, we surveyed the gift wrap and ripped box apocalypse, and the embarrassing abundance of merchandise piled about the room, and we decided we would do it differently next year, and so we have. 

This year we gave the gift of experience. We gave family memberships to zoos and museums, we gave dance and computer lessons, and we gave art and Spanish classes. So the younger ones would have a gift to open we wrapped books or movies or puzzles related to the experience.

This seems to be a success and everyone is happy. There is one glitch of course. In early Autumn, when I first began to think about Christmas shopping, I had forgotten about this plan to gift experiences rather than stuff. So with Grandma zeal, fueled by 20 percent off coupons and Kohl’s cash-back I went Christmas shopping and came back with loads of stuff that none of the children particularly need…but it would make them oh, so happy! For the moment anyway.

I arrive home with my purchases, unload everything into the middle of the living room floor, and survey the bags and boxes of my shopping apocalypse and the embarrassing abundance of merchandise piled about the room. It looked vaguely familiar. “Oh, right”, I think. “This year we are going to gift experiences, not stuff.” But the shopping had made me happy! For the moment anyway…

So the bought gifts are bundled off to families who really need them and I get online and start sending ideas for trips and lessons and classes to my kids and grandkids. Eventually it all falls into place.

My downfall is that I never write down my Christmas improvement list. I depend on my memory. That would be the glitch. So this year my Christmas improvement list is written down. It reads like this:

Write down the Christmas improvement list.