The plan and to-do list

Hard on the heels of clearing the mechanism and getting back to what’s really important came the thought that if I don’t make some sort of a plan and get to work on it, all the things that need to get done before Christmas won’t. I’ve done this to myself every year for the last few, just sort of waited to even think about the holidays until they’re here and then it goes downhill from there.

I remember being more organized once upon a time, maybe more than five years ago, when I would start shopping and planning in September, though like all parents who buy too much and spoil their kids, we were still up on Christmas Eve wrapping like madmen. More recently, I’ve been completely unmotivated to deal with any of it until the dreaded season is threatening to mow me down, and that doesn’t work too well when many gifts have to be ordered from the States and shipped soon enough to arrive on time.

I think it may have started to degenerate when I realized that no matter what I did for one of my kids, it was never “enough.” There was always something completely unreasonable on the wish list that we wouldn’t buy for a child in a million years, and then she wasn’t happy with what we did buy. There was always something she wanted to do that just didn’t work (usually because it was, again, something that a child wasn’t going to get to do anyway) and then everything we did do was met with surliness and/or noncooperation. She’s still kind of like that, though there are (very) brief moments when I see a faint glow toward the end of the tunnel, and last year Christmas was a bit better than previous years had been with her.

My reaction to that and all the rest of the holiday stress is to just not deal with it for any longer an amount of time than is completely necessary. (ITMan calls this my “Bah Humbug” response) Thus, the shopping and planning scramble starting on Thanksgiving and continuing on through December, ending with a complete crash on Boxing Day. Then the obligatory parties with ITMan’s officemates (only two this year; last year there were three!), so I can add in a scramble for something to wear. If I really must be subjected to these functions, the very least that needs to happen is a new “something” to wear!

Anyway, enough of all that. The point is, lately I make it to about the first week in December each year, and then realize that if I don’t make a plan, it’s all going to blow up in my face because I’ll forget to do something. The “plan” part was helped along by BlogLily, and her posts and encouragement about planning. She also has some wonderful things to say about being a bit easier on yourself, and not “over-organizing.” I sat waiting during LittleOne’s flute lesson the other day and sketched a rough plan, really little more than a couple of menus and a list of baked goods that need to get done, and a list of really critical bits of things to do that had better happen. I’m not so organized yet that I’ve listed a day or deadline for these things to happen, but maybe I should try that, too.

The Golden CompassYesterday was the day we ran around town buying all the edibles that we usually send out to the family in the States. Sometimes I do a bit more than just cookies and candies, but this year I didn’t really see anything else that I thought was a nice addition, so there it is. They really just like to eat anyway! Today, I’ll pack the boxes, and tomorrow it’s time for mailing, and then I can scratch that off my list. We capped off our busy shopping day with a family trip to the movies to see The Golden Compass, which was fabulous! Definitely the movie to see for Christmas. If I can squeeze in a little time at the machine today to work on a gift for my landlords, it’s a bonus!