Santa not the only one checking off lists


By Cindy Beamon

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

'Tis the season for lists.

Lots of them.

I began making holiday lists for all types of things before Thanksgiving.

THE LIST contains menus, a grocery list, instructions on when to prepare what dishes -- all designed to make sure the food is ready at the right time.

Without THE LIST, I may have forgotten to thaw the turkey and frozen sweet potato casserole days before the feast.

I lost THE LIST at one point -- which is the reason I had to make an extra run to the grocery store for frozen peas. The peas are a critical ingredient to layered salad, and my family would be very unhappy if I failed to bring it for Thanksgiving.

I am not alone in my list-making.

Toys R Us TV commercials have been reminding us that Santa keeps a list.

I've laughed at TV spots called "Naughty List is Not an Option" showing children jumping to take out the trash or vacuum the den.

I imagine most people make lists of some form or another.

I was an exception for a while. I kept a list in my head rather than writing it down. I viewed the written list as a commitment to my overly ambitious plans. I avoided leaving behind evidence of all the things that I hoped to accomplish but did not.

My husband is in that list-making category. He often complains that he cannot get everything done on his list.

When I began forgetting things, I had to reconsider how I viewed list-making.

I began using lists to break down bigger tasks into smaller, more manageable duties. I counted backward to figure out when I needed to get what done to reach my goal.

I am not like some list-makers who plot out their days in detail, but I've grown to like checking off a to-do list at work.

With Christmas approaching, I have made or will make even more lists:

-- A list for how to get ahead at work so that I can take off a couple of days during the holidays. My daughters joked that I could leave "gone on vacation" in the middle of the Lifestyles pages.

-- A list for gifts I am giving to various people and how much I spent, so that I can stay on budget

-- A holiday meal menu, the ingredients I need to buy, and when I need to prepare what, and the order I need to fix things so that I can serve everything at the same time.

-- I may even need to make a list for all the lists I need to make.

When my two daughters came home for Thanksgiving they had lists of their own.

They had all types of ideas for how to make crafts out of the giant tree we just cut down in our yard.

They wanted to make toothbrush holders and tabletops, wooden key chains and coasters, lamp stands and plant stands from the remnants of that tree.

Their lists were a little too long for all we had time or energy to do. That's the problem with lists.

Cindy Beamon is editor of the Albemarle Life section of The Daily Advance