Really, I make lists all year long. I’m a firm believer in the “To Do List,” mostly because I enjoy scratching things off of them. It makes me feel productive. I admit, I have been known to add things I’ve already done. I also put down silly little things, like “refill coffee cup.” Because it’s all about the scratching them off. “YES!” I think triumphantly, giving myself a mental high five for such grand accomplishments as “wipe off the table,” “hang up wet towell,” and “wash eyeglasses.” VICTORY IS MINE!!!
But this is the time of year for that other kind of list.
The holiday list.
The truth is, I don’t go shopping on Black Friday. I don’t like the crowds, I don’t like the standing in line. But really, when I think about it, there’s nothing out there in all those deals that I really want or need. I’ve got plenty of stuff in my house. I’ve got plenty of clothes in my closet. And so do my kids, my siblings, my parents. Everyone on my holiday shopping list doesn’t really need anything, a fact for which I am very grateful.
Of course, there’s more on the holiday To Do List than shopping. There are the parties and cards and decorating and entertaining and baking and…
Listening to the commercials on TV and the radio, what we seem to be sold most during the holidays, is stress. At some point, we lost the idea that we are supposed to do things at the holiday to spread and share joy. Every radio commercial I hear on my commute to work features the frantic housewife, cooking and cleaning and decorating for the masses, the frantic parents or lovers trying to find the perfect gift, the overworked, stressed out shopper, desperate to get it all done. They aren’t helping us enjoy the holidays, they aren’t trying to give us a sense of joy. They are selling us stress–If you aren’t stressed out, you aren’t doing it right!
If that’s right, I gave up doing it right a long time ago. This can be a joyful time of year, but only if we choose to make it so. Likewise, this can be a hard time of year, for those who have lost loved ones or are alone. So my list, this holiday season, isn’t about what I can buy or how many things I have to get done. This list is about joy.
- This holiday season, I’m going to do things that bring joy to myself and others.
- All those things that the commercial society tells me to do but I don’t really want to? I’m saying no. Seriously, I’ve seen lights, baked cookies, been to parties. If I’m in the mood, I’ll do those things, but the season isn’t made better by overdoing them, when I’ve already had enough.
- I’m going to spend time with those I love, instead of spending time spending money on useless stuff for those I love.
- I’m going to remind myself to look on the bright side–even the things that make me angry or frustrated must have a bright side somewhere.
- I’m going to seek joy, even when its hidden.
- I’m going to find time to write. Because that’s important to me, and grounding, and stress relieving. Even when the cats are on my page.
That’s my holiday list as we enter the Christmas season. Now to start ticking them off.
**Addendum: The cats have made their stress free holiday season lists too:
- Stalk birds through the windows
- World domination