Making A List Or Two

If you are anything like me, your purse, wallet and pockets are stuffed with paper lists for gift buying, meal planning, Christmas card sending, bill paying and all sorts of other reminders to get you to Dec. 25 unscathed.

The other day I pulled seven “lists” from my purse and laughed out loud at the duplications. I had even written myself a note reminding me of the lists!

I have Post-It Notes on my computer screen, my refrigerator, attached to my bedroom mirror and even some reminders in my car.

But for the life of me I sometimes can’t remember what day it is when I open my eyes in the morning. That tells you how crazy life can be, especially before a holiday.

I don’t know how my mother managed all the lists of her 12 children but somehow she got them to Santa, who fulfilled most of the important wishes on those lists. Maybe we didn’t get everything on our lists, but we always received things we needed.

New pajamas or warm robes topped Mom’s idea of gift-giving. No hand-me-down pajamas would do at Christmas. And our stockings always contained sweet tangerines along with playing cards or other games to further the learning curve. She has always been clever that way.

Even if she wanted to search for something in the Sears or J.C. Penney catalogs, she would find pages missing or smeared with peanut butter and jelly from all the kids who got to the books before she did.

Sometimes our wish lists would contain outrageous requests which were quickly tempered with information that Santa’s sleigh could carry only so much. When one of my older sisters said all she wanted for Christmas was a pair of Bass Weejuns (penny loafers), she got them. But because of their hefty price tag, that’s all she got that year. She was old enough to know they didn’t fit in Santa’s budget without trimming elsewhere and she was happy with her gift.

There wasn’t a Christmas that someone didn’t receive a musical implement but the year our Dad stepped through a drum set ended that.

With seven brothers in the house, there were always noise and footballs flying across rooms. There were enough Tonka trucks under the Christmas tree over the years to build Interstate 70.

While times have certainly changed and today’s wish lists are more about high tech gadgets and cellphone apps, there are some gifts that are timeless. The year I received the entire collection of Nancy Drew mystery books was one of the best Christmases I ever had. Those books kept me busy, amused and were educational, too.

When you are perusing your lists today, consider a gift of the written word. It’s a good excuse to gather the kids or grandkids onto the couch and read them a story. Now, that’s a priceless gift so easy to cross off any list.

Merry Christmas to all.

Heather Ziegler can be reached via e-mail at