The Naughty and Nice List

Ask any organized person and they will tell you they use lists. Even the chronically unorganized use lists maybe not of their own creation but lists are everywhere. Just off the top of my head here are some of my favorite types of lists:

Checklist – Very handy for not forgetting things for certain situations
To-Do – I use one every day to keep myself on track.
Grocery – Yummy!
Honey-Do – all those things you want your significant other to take care of
Top Ten – David Letterman knows the importance of this list
Bucket – all those things you want to accomplish before you kick the bucket
Christmas Card – when was the last time you pruned it?
Wish – I really want a pony!
Auto-biographical – jobs, people, family
Catalog – books, music, art and collections that you own
Resource – best of books of all times, these come from outside sources
Reference – conversion charts, timetables, things you reference often
Links and Logins – most used websites and your logins for each

Around the holidays I use lists constantly. There is the Christmas Card List. The Bake List of goodies I want to bake for folks. The Gift List – kind of speaks for itself. Make as many or as few lists as you need.

But remember that just making a list won’t get you organized! You have to USE the list!

If I write down everything I need to do today but then never go back to it to check in with how I’m progressing on the list it doesn’t do me a lot of good. Check in with your list periodically to not only see how you are doing but to refocus on what tasks you have left to do. I love being able to check off or cross out items on my list. At the end of the day I can look at my list and see things crossed off and it gives one a sense of accomplishment. A little affirmation that we so often forget to give ourselves especially when we get busy.

If you can get by with one list great. If you need ten lists go for it. But USE the list!

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Oh Christmas Box….

We’ve all done it. Some of us even do it every year. Get your mind out of the gutter…..it’s misplacing that one box of Christmas stuff that you need to finish the decorating. Maybe it’s the box of heirloom ornaments that have been stashed away for safe keeping or the ornaments your little one’s have made over the years, in my case the tree stand and extension cords.

I love Christmas and it is my favorite time of year! I try to keep that spirit going year round by singing Christmas carols whenever the mood strikes. My coworkers over the years have been kind enough not to call the men in white coats or get me singing lessons. So when Christmas rolls around I am more worked up than Honey Boo Boo on gogo juice and pixie sticks. The worst day of the year is taking all the decorations down. This usually happens in mid January because the husband can’t stand it anymore and has started to take them down himself. Bless his heart for trying but no one touches the Chrsitmas stuff but me.

I try to get through this horrible process as quickly and as orderly as I can, but one praticularly tearful year, yes it upsets me that much to take it all down, I shoved the Christmas tree stand in a random box and the extension cords wherever they would fit and all the other little pieces that it takes to put it all together in any nook and cranny that would hold them.

One year, two moves and a new home later it was Christmas time again, and of course I couldn’t find that Christmas tree stand to save my life. Of course this wasn’t any old replaceable tree stand noooo….. it was a specially wired gizmo that twirled your tree around so you could see just how badly you decorated the back of the tree.  After the better portion of what should have been the most joyous day of the year, the stand emerged from the garage tucked inside an ancient hand crank ice cream maker.

How did it end up there? Was it too warm in the attic and it thought it would be cooler in the ice cream thingy? Who knows how some things wind up where they do during a move but it had been found and all was right with the world. Decorating took several days that Christmas season not because we decorate that much but because it was such an unorgaized mess! How did I let it get this way?

I was determined that I would never have the joy sucked out the pre-Christmas prep by being that disorganized again. Hence the Christmas Box – not to be confused with the Hallmark movie.

It isn’t much to look at from the outside. In fact its an old file box from my first college career. It doesn’t match any of the other containers on purpose. I want it to stand out so it is easily spotted when all the tubs and containers come out the day after Thanksgiving. But that wonderful old white file box is Christmas central. It holds, you guessed it, the Christmas tree stand, the extension cords, extra tealight candles, any fastner that is used strictly for holiday decorating, extra ornament hangers, and extra bulbs for the window candles. That box also represents a bit of sanity. I know when I pull that box out first that its going to be any easy breezy setup. I can keep on humming “I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas”