Day 1 in the Christmas Zone

December 4, 2015

I should hire myself out as a Christmas planner. Not really, but I am good at this.

About two decades ago, I came up with a Christmas to-do list. I work from it every year. I refine it every year, as well, so you gotta know it’s a pretty awesome document.

Every year I also shake my head and mutter things like, It’s really come to this? Then I say, Yes, yes it has.  But most of the time, though slightly horrified by my own ocd, I think it’s pretty damn useful.

Yesterday was the day I pulled together this year’s list. I sat in Mishka’s with an extra large au lait, rain pelting the windows, and, using last year’s as a template, I entered and updated all the relevant data for this year’s list. It’s a bit of an annual ritual. An out with the old, in with the new kind of thing.

It’s 14 pages long.

Yep. That’s why I got the extra large.

Anyway. So today was the official Day 1: Get Supplies Day. I have a very specific list of the things I’m going to need … for baking, for cards, for gift baskets, for wrapping, for trimming and decorating. I assess current supplies, make a detailed list of what’s missing, then head out to acquire the stuff. I know the stores I’m going to go to and the specific supplies at each one. I know how many and how much I’m going to need of just about everything because I do pretty much the exact same thing every year. That was the deal I made with myself a long time ago:  “You can do it easy, or you can do it hard. Choose easy.”

(Actually, page one of my 14-page Christmas list is this nice little 5-point strategy slash pep talk that I devised many years ago and quickly review most years to remind myself that It’s. Just. Christmas. The points are all about keeping the holiday simple and fun. I know…. it’s a list of things I do to manage my list of things to do. But hey, it works. You have to get all the logistical business out of the way so you can slow it up, enjoy your peeps, and nestle down into the season of peace and light. Right?)

It was funny today… I rarely shop at Office Max, but I always go at Christmas time to get four boxes of a certain self-sticking envelope in a variety of colors. I know exactly where I’m going to find them. As I was walking down that aisle, I was thinking, Jeeez, I was JUST here! And indeed, it felt like it had been only a couple of months ago, but, in fact, it’s been a year. Time doing that time thing.

So… supply acquisition day went well. We are provisioned and ready for business.

Mostly, it was a STUNNINGLY beautiful day in Northern California. I took a few pics…

Managed to get a parking spot on G, south of Second. Pickin’s were slim on a Friday afternoon!


Came out of the toy store (I actually had some extra time to shop and got 5 1/2 out of 7 of the little kid presents… yay!):


Walking out of Office Max in South Davis…


And driving home along 8th…


The season of light has begun.

Weekend tasks: tree chopping down… trimming and decorating if there’s time, and card and calendar making.



2 Responses to “Day 1 in the Christmas Zone”

  1. Michael Ann Says:

    That’s your easy way? 🙂 I don’t send out cards anymore, don’t stress about the baking (used to give out tins and trays, don’t anymore), and luckily don’t have many gifts to give anymore. I used to really do up the holidays but it’s much nicer now just saying “no” to all of it. I’m kind of a grinch though.

  2. Kari Says:

    It is my easy way. Largely b/c it’s routinized and I can do it w/o stress. Totally totally hear you on the excess of it. My rationale: it’s for one more year… then Peter moves out. A lot is for him. He’ll come back, of course, but as an adult and we’ll do it differently. I tend to gravitate toward ritual, tradition, routine. We’ve done the same card since Peter was born (a photo collage); we exchange treats with the same folks and it’s become a thing (and enjoyable), plus I like baking; the decs go up, the decs come down… everything is in the same place. I can’t quite avoid the gift stuff because it’s for family and it’s how we’ve always done it… but that’s what will get whittled back as we go forward. I’ve had the talk with myself over and over… asking myself: do you love this? And if so, I do it. Going forward… more time spent on community, <– giving to that, downtime, gatherings… and the much loved and needed reflection and chill of the season in prep for renewal in the new year… that's what I love.

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