Making a list, Checking it twice

Tis the season for making lists. For me, its always the season for making lists, because Im a list-maker, but with Christmas coming, Im having to check them twice.

First, there is the list of what to buy each person, which is probably the most challenging, especially when I have teenagers on my list. Next, I make a list of stores I need to shop in, with a sublist of which gifts are found in each store. To complicate this second list, I have to coordinate the store list with the helpers Ive enlisted. I try to match the interests of my helpers with the kinds of stores Im asking them to take me to. For instance, Ill ask Bonnie to take me to Kohls, because she knows that store inside and out. I know better than to ask Jean to take me to a chocolate shop, because she never buys candy. Ive asked sherri to pick up the gift certificates at a couple of stores, because shes going there anyway to buy them for her kids. I almost need a spread sheet to keep this straight.

As soon as I get the purchases home, I immediately label each one with Braille, especially when Ive shopped early in the year, because I know Ill forget what that package holds and which grandkid its for. Then, when I think Im done shopping, I lay out all the presents in stacks and count them. If they are all accounted for, I make my final list. I actually keep a record of what I gave each person each year. The record goes back for quite a few years. That way, I can avoid that embarrassing moment when someone says, Thanks. Ill put this one right next to the one you gave me last year. Well, nobodys ever really said that to me, but they could. The last thing I want them to say behind my back is, I know what Mom is getting for me, because she always gives that to me. Theres one exception though. My son-in-law is very difficult to buy gifts for, because whenever he needs something, he goes out and buys it. A couple of years ago, Kara and I discovered that he enjoys a glass of Baileys Irish Cream once in a while, and its something he would never buy for himself. Voila! Now hes the easiest person on my list, because he now looks forward to his annual bottle of Baileys.

For my final list, I keep a record of who gave me what for each Christmas and birthday. You might think thats a little over the top, but it sure comes in handy when you want to make sure you trot out the serving bowl, the jewelry, the fuzzy slippers or whatever when that person is coming for a visit. It also keeps me from buying them the same thing they got me last year.

My favorite list to make is the one I send to Santa. When my kids ask me what Id like for Christmas, I can never think of anything right off the top of my head, because what Id like most is not a thing you wrap up but their time and attention. But its the season for wrapping up things, so I keep a running list in my Braille and Speak, whenever I think of something Id like that isnt a necessity. Then I whip out my list on cue right about this time of year. I send a separate list to Kara and Steve. Thats not just so they dont get me the same thing, but to ask for things each one could find more easily.

To add to the list-making this year, Im doing the shopping for my mother, who lives in assisted living and pretending that Im keeping her money separate from mine. Kara is being a tremendous help in finding things on line and doing a lot of the shopping for presents to her kids from me. She has lists too. Shes buying things on behalf of her grandmother, on behalf of me, and Ill bet on behalf of her husband, besides on behalf of herself. Well both be happy when this part of the season is over, so we can settle down to celebrate the reason for this season, the birth of Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas everybody, and happy shopping.

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