Thursday, December 02, 2010

THURSDAY TALK-TIME : Making A List And Checking It Twice by Lynne Marshall

Lynne Marshall is revising her holiday lists with Thursday Talk-time...

It’s that time of year again – time to make a list! Who can survive the holidays without those pesky reminders of what to do, where to be, what to buy, and which ingredients to use? Not me!

It begins around U.S. Thanksgiving. The ads appear, reminding me that Uncle Leo can’t live without that new aftershave, and Nana should get signed up for that service in case she falls. The sexy man in evening tux informs me that without that huge rock of a diamond, I’ll never know if my husband truly loves me or not, and the same for hubby if I overlook that ridiculously large flat screen TV.

Then the decorations pop up all over town. I frantically search for my note pad and begin to scribble down my plans. Get the tree-trimming boxes out of the attic, set up the Advent calendar, call so-and-so about the wreaths, say yes to that holiday luncheon, remember to drop by the Christmas boutique, buy holiday cards and don’t forget the tree, pick up dinner!

And speaking of dinner, the Christmas dinner list is long and daunting: Who to invite; what to serve – turkey or prime rib? Why not both? Side dishes 1-5. Desserts, at least two, why not three? Oh, jot this down – since it becomes first on the New Years list – find out how much it costs to join the gym!

Now, on to the “gifts for the family” list. Collect immediate and extended family sizes, favorite colors, likes and dislikes. If only I’d kept the list from last year! Try not to get confused about whether Emily likes knit scarves and Gina hates them, or is that vice versa? And if I ask either of them to clarify, they’ll know what I have in mind, which will take all the fun out of buying it for them. OK, make a list of who to ask to surreptitiously find out which is which. Have a back up list, in case I was dead wrong about who likes what. Make a techie list in the event no one wants traditional gifts this year. Buy all new wrapping paper! Start a list on potential part time jobs in 2011 to help pay for the Christmas shopping sprees.

Does any of this ring a bell for the rest of you? I thought it might. To offset this crazy time of year, maybe I should chuck all those other lists and start one more that begins:

1. Take time to smell the pine trees.

2. Enjoy the music of the season.

3. Be sure to tell the people I love how special they are.

4. Simple acts of kindness touch people’s hearts.

5. Spend more time with family and friends.

6. Visit someone who doesn’t have relatives nearby.

7. Remember the reason for the season.

8. Don’t forget it’s the little things that mean the most.

9. Slow down!

This one is a hangover from Thanksgiving

10. Don’t forget to be grateful for my many blessings.

Hey, here’s one last list I’d love you to help me make: A list of movies to watch this holiday season. I have a few in mind, but I’d love to add more. Share your top three Christmas-themed movies for a chance to win my current release – The Christmas Baby Bump.

And the last item on my list today is to wish you, one and all, a joyous holiday season! May you spend it in good health, surrounded by those you love.


Lynne Marshall


  1. I have to say, my favorite Christmas movie of all time is: It's a Wonderful Life. I watch it every year. It used to be on multiple channels. Then, when it got difficult to find on TV, my husband bought me the DVD. I also like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and I may be dating myself, but I love Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.

  2. A great post, Lynne! While it's not a traditional Christmas movie, I do love LOVE, ACTUALLY. In the end it is quite uplifting, and even provides a place for tears. I'm also a huge fan of A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS which I watch while wrapping presents, and HOLIDAY INN. I LOVE that movie!

    Hope yours is a happy one!

  3. Wendy, It's a Wonderful Life is one my husband and I watch each year, too. Great sentiment. I loved revisiting the children Christmas movies with my kids, and must say that The Grinch is also a favorite.

    Hope you and your family has a chance to enjoy each other over the next several weeks!

  4. Christine, I loved LOVE, ACTUALLY (especially when Hugh Grant danced), and who can get through the holidays without Charlie Brown? I'm embarassed to say I've never seen HOLIDAY Inn.

    Maybe this year with be the year.

    Enjoy your Christmas!

  5. Great post, Lynn! I have to say "It's a Wonderful Life" is my all time favorite. It still makes me cry. My new favorite is "Elf." Makes me laugh every time.

  6. Kaitlin, I was going to say "Elf" too. I love the shower duet. :)

  7. Oh, I love Elf, too, Kaitlin! thanks for reminding me.

    Have a great Holiday Season, and don't drive yourself crazy with lists, okay? : )

  8. Agreed, Kate, that shower duet was amazing! And the small person with the bad temper was hysterical!

    Bob Newhart made a great Dad, too. OK, that's it, I'm going to watch that movie this week!

  9. Love the post Lynn. My top five (or six) in no particular order:
    1. Love Actually
    2. It's a Wonderful Live
    3. White Christmas
    4. The Santa Clause
    5. National Lampoons Christmas Vacation
    6. Polar Express

  10. Hi Maggie!
    I'd forgotten about Polar Express. Gosh, I loved that movie. I like your list!

    thanks for chiming in.

  11. Hi Lynne - I'm already feeling the stress of Christmas and it's only December 1st! I need to slow down and enjoy. I keep telling myself that anyway!!

  12. Hey Charlene, I think if you stop and watch some of these Christmas movies it might help.

    I know it's hard to avoid the stress, though.

    Trying hard not to go there...

  13. Hi Lynne -
    When the hectic pace of the holidays gets too crazy, I grab a cup of hot cider and relax in the glow of twinkling tree lights and a cozy fire, listening to the soothing cellos of my favorite Christmas music. Ahhhh.... Don't forget to add "Miracle on 34th Street" to your list of movies (the original, of course) ... and definitely "The Bishop's Wife" with Cary Grant! Wishing you a Merry Christmas filled with love,
    Robyn Thomas

  14. Hmm, okay hokey as it may be, I love watching "Love Actually" at Christmas. Then there is my next favorite "The Santa Clause" I love the whole idea of what would you do if your normal life got taken over and it actually made you a better person? My third brings me back to my childhood and isn't one so much as all of them, "Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer," "The Grinch," and "Peanuts Christmas Special." The originals and not the remakes from television. I know it's the holidays when I can see those.

  15. @Robyn - thank you, thank you, thank you! I'd forgotten The Bishop's Wife (the original) and Miracle on 34th St, too! @Kaitlin and Kate, I just finished a marathon of Elf.

  16. Love, Actually is one of my favorite Christmas movies too! I DVR'd it and made everyone sit down after Thanksgiving dinner and watch it with me! I enjoy the traditional movies too, with It's a Wonderful Life at the top. I also love the animated A Christmas Carol with Mr. Scrooge. The Ghost of Christmas Future always gave me the chills!

  17. Miracle on 34th Street (I like the newer version with Richard Attenborough) is a lovely movie but my favourite is While You Were Sleeping with Sandra Bullock. Followed closely by all the Santa Claus movies and Polar Express.

    I love your last list - it makes much more sense and is far more in keeping with the season.

  18. Three is hard to pick, so I'll give you more. Love Actually, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, Charlie Brown Christmas, and The Grinch, of course. But my number one movie? A Christmas Story. Nothing beats a little boy's quest for that perfect toy his mother refuses to buy for him.

    Ralphie: "I want an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle!"

    Mrs. Parker (mom): "No, you'll shoot your eye out."


    Happy Holidays,
    Amy Strnad

  19. Robyn! How could I forget Miracle on 34th Street? And definitely the original. Hmm, now off to check out The Bishop's Wife. Love CG!

  20. Mia - I'm glad you're getting ideas from these comments as well as giving great suggestions. I really do miss watching those kid oriented Christmas shows. When I was a child, I don't think I got the full impact of Charlie Brown's Christmas show. The music makes me melancholy. So beautiful.

  21. Hi Carol! Thanks for commenting. Yeah, Love Actually is a "get me in the spirit" kind of movie. Lots of emotion packed into a couple hours. Plus the music is so fantastic!

    Personally, my favorite Scrooge movie is the one made with George C. Scott. I think it was made in the 80s.

  22. Hi Elissa! I am so glad you like the list that matters most. The rest is all just so much fluff, you know?
    I'd totally forgotten While You Were Sleeping (not the movie, but the tie in with Christmas)

    I must confess, I only saw the first Santa Clause, and thoroughly enjoyed it. There have been so many stinker Christmas movies made over the years, sometimes I'm gun shy about the follow ups.

    Hey, that gives me an idea for another blog and another list - the worst Christmas movies!

    Thanks for commenting.

  23. Hi Amy! I was waiting for someone to mention A Christmas Story. I love that it has become a classic (more of a cult classic) and I think it's because boys get it!

    The snow suit scene kills me every time.

    You're are so right - Classic!
    You'll shoot your eye out!

  24. Great modified list, Lynne--these are things I'm striving to keep in mind this year. As for Christmas movies, all of my favorites have been named, so I'll second "Miracle on 34th Street" (the original version) and "Love, Actually."

  25. Hi SKylar! Thanks for popping in. I think we've found our hands down winner - Love, Actually!

    I kept waiting for someone to mention The Holiday starring Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Carmen Diaz and Jack Black. I enjoyed that movie, but wouldn't place it on a top three list.

    Any others we've missed folks? Chime in!

  26. Great post, Lynne.
    My favorite Christmas movies are:
    Scrooged [Christmas Carol] with Bill Murray
    White Christmas
    While You Were Sleeping
    Trapped In Paradise
    Miracle On 34th [new one]
    Garfield's Christmas Special [granny's story always makes me cry]

  27. I have to say that I love all Christmas movies even the cheesy TV remakes of classics. I love the George C Scott version of Christmas Carol, and then there were these two which weren't particularly wonderful, but I still like... "Ebbie" starring Susan Lucci and "Diva's Christmas" starring Vanessa Williams. And for some reason, I always think of Christmas whenever I see Oliver

  28. Hi Lynne,
    I'm stealing the list and going out to bring all these christmas movies home!

  29. Oh, Carol, I remember Granny's story in Garfield's Christmas. Yup that's a tear jerker all right.

    I like your list!

    Thanks for reading the blog.

  30. Mia, you keep coming up with movies I've never heard of, LOL. Diva's Christmas, now that sounds interesting.

    A particularly bad Christmas movie was Christmas with the Kranks (Correct me if I'm wrong)

  31. Mia, you keep coming up with movies I've never heard of, LOL. Diva's Christmas, now that sounds interesting.

    A particularly bad Christmas movie was Christmas with the Kranks (Correct me if I'm wrong)

  32. Great idea, Nas. I've discovered several I haven't seen today myself. Thanks so much for visiting the PHS blog.

  33. And the winner is...



    Thanks everyone for stopping by. I've got a whole stack of Christmas movies to check out this year, and that's always better than most TV.

  34. Congratulations Mia, you really going to enjoy THE CHRISTMAS BABY BUMP. Phil is someone sooo dreamy!