To do or not to do?

We are coming to the close of another season of lists. There are multiple ones this time of year. Santa’s naughty and nice lists got my attention as a child. When my grandsons had breakfast with Santa this year, they learned he now has a third list— the “still-working-on-it” list. That should take some pressure off today’s kids.


As an adult, I moved on to other lists each year during the weeks after Thanksgiving. First, there’s the gift list populated with the who and what of my giving. Then there’s the guest list noting the lineup of those invited to celebrate. That’s followed by the shopping list for food and beverages and everything else needed for the Christmas gathering.


Ultimately, all of these lists combined turn into one long to-do list. Can it be overwhelming? Yes. Does it have to be overwhelming? No. To-do or not-to-do? That is the question.


Recently, I learned about a don’t-have-to-do-list. Santa has one of those, you know. He knows he can’t do it all when it comes to Christmas. So that’s why he has elves to help him. His don’t-have-to-do-list is the elves to-do list.


Although many of us may try to do it all, unlike Santa, we often don’t know we can’t. So, this year, take a lesson from him. Look around for the elves in your life who are waiting for a Christmas assignment from you.


Just because you plan your Christmas dinner menu doesn’t mean you have to buy and prep all the food for it. Share what you’re planning with your elves and ask them to choose which parts they would like to be responsible for.


If you are the gift shopper, perhaps you have an elf who will be the gift wrapper. Engage an elf to help you decorate your home for the season and one to help take down those decorations and put them away at the end of the season.


Gathering a troupe of elves creates a don’t-have-to-do list, which reveals your new, reduced to-do list. And that will likely increase your Christmas joy.


As you tie up any last-minute loose ends for Christmas this week, stay calm and bright. Don’t just buy presents—be present. Don’t forget to wrap someone in a hug when you wrap presents. And when you send gifts, send your love, too.


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