My Christmas Spirit Checklist

Life is more than big plans.

christmas 2007

Image by paparutzi via Flickr

Building a retirement lifestyle means taking care of the big decisions and issues but that is only the start. It also means living on a minute to minute basis and making sure that those minutes count. The clock is ticking and no one knows how many of those precious minutes are left. That is a big problem for me and so I’m going to address it. I get really caught up in the big plans, the ones that take months or years to accomplish and while I’m working on them the short term enjoyments get forgotten. I have to schedule small trips like museums and local sights because on a day to day basis, I’m always too busy to be spontaneous. It is still a problem for me but not so much as before I made it part of my plan.

Short term is important.

These is another dimension of working in the future that I struggle with as well. You could call it enjoying the moment. In this case, the moment is Christmas and I’m fighting the impulses that tell me to just forget about it. The kids are out of the house and there are no grandchildren so it is easy to say bah humbug and keep working. I’m fighting that too because each day is a step on the path to my future and if I wait to enjoy myself until I’m there, it may be too late.

So what am I doing?

Last week I asked about five of the ways we celebrate Christmas: music, food, cards, a tree and lights. I asked you to vote your view about them and their importance to you this season. Well, my own indifference surprised me. I don’t have much Christmas spirit yet and the big day is closing in. I decided that maybe you don’t do those things because you have Christmas spirit. Maybe you have Christmas spirit because you do those things.

So I started doing.

English: Beef Wellington.

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday I sent Christmas cards. It felt good but it was only a start. Today I started researching food for our Christmas dinner. I found a Christmas special from Gordon Ramsey The best part of it was his own version of Beef Wellington. I re-watched the video today taking notes. I’m starting to get a bit excited. I can already smell the mulled wine and the roasted nuts. I have to call the market to make sure I have the right cut of meat but there is still time. I’ve never done Beef Wellington but it is already seeming more like Christmas.

What else?

There is still the Christmas music to play. It’s in the back of the CD player cartridge. I just need to play it instead of the news while we fix dinner. I plan to pick up a tree sometime this week. Since they start trying to move them, I’m thinking I will get a good deal but that’s not the real point. Sure it is a hassle to put up the tree and even worse taking it down. The point is that that effort and commitment gives purpose to the season.

There won’t be any Christmas lights at the Carlson manse but that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate Mike across the street and the rest of lighted houses.

I’m beginning to feel the spirit moving and I like it.

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Donna December 19, 2011, 11:49 am

    Just taking some action really helps. Today I finally finished my Christmas cards. Sunday I went to 2 Christmas concerts-singing Christmas songs and ringing bells. I am completely in the holiday spirit. Still have to wrap presents-will get to it eventually. You don’t have to do a lot of work to enjoy yourself-but you do have to get into the holiday spirit. Just pick what you like to do and share what you can with others.

    • Ralph December 19, 2011, 1:21 pm

      Way to go Donna. Now you are ahead of me. But I’ll catch up.

  • Bryan McHeyzer December 19, 2011, 7:21 pm

    Hi Ralph,
    Merry Christmas mate just in case I forget to wish you and your.

    I must agree with you that when there are no children around I find it hard to get into the spirit of xmas.
    The younger generation and their tribes are all away this year.
    However as this is a time to celebrate and I love my food and wine will not miss it…
    Sounds like you are well on your way to enjoy the “christmas feeling”
    Bryan McHeyzer’s last Blog Post ..How Old Is Grandma?

    • Ralph December 20, 2011, 12:03 pm

      Merry Christmas to you and your family, Bryan.

  • Hansi December 20, 2011, 7:49 am

    Christmas without kids can be different. That’s what it’s all about in my opinion. Have a Merry Christmas.
    Hansi’s last Blog Post ..Bummer

    • Ralph December 20, 2011, 12:05 pm

      Kids help a lot but when it comes down to it, it’s a question about whether you want to enjoy your life or just endure. Gather those rosebuds while you can and have a Merry Christmas.

  • Bill Murney December 20, 2011, 11:52 am

    I have been into the Christmas spirit(s) for a while now Ralph.

    I find it all a little false, the rest of the year people are at each others throats. I don’t mean my family with that statement by the way. Perhaps I am just to cynical.

    If it wasn’t for the grandchildren, it wouldn’t mean much to me I have to say.

    However my good lady is into the Christmas spirit every year and does all the usual preparations. I suppose I am just a miserable old bugger.


    PS I did vote but didn’t comment – guess how I voted!
    Bill Murney’s last Blog Post ..Headlines From The Year 2030

    • Ralph December 20, 2011, 12:10 pm

      Thanks for reminding me about those Christmas spirits. Nothing like some mulled wine in front of the fire (assuming they still let you have a fire in government controlled Europe. Here in government controlled California we have to check each day to see if it’s ok.) or maybe a hot buttered rum.
      Maybe you wouldn’t bother for yourself but you are a lucky man to have your lady to keep you from being the Grinch. Have a Merry Christmas in spite of yourself.

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