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Ann Cannon: Making a list and checking it twice — or not

Published December 4, 2013 9:56 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In case you haven't heard, the holidays are here.

Which answer best describes your response to this news?

a. Yay! Party on, Wayne! Party on, Garth!

b. Good. I (mostly) like this time of year.

c. Ugh. Please just let me just crawl into a cave and grow fur all over my body and sleep through the whole ordeal. Then wake me up in January when it's over. And if you wake me up before it's over, I promise you that I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN LIKE AN ANIMAL. (And you'll be sorry.)

OK, answer "b" best describes me. I enjoy the holidays — a lot, actually. But I also find them stressful, because there's just so much to do! and see! and eat! As my friend Boyd once observed, Christmas can feel exactly like being force-fed too many pieces of your favorite dessert — which is why before the ball really gets rolling, I'm making up a list of things I do and don't want to do so that I won't be flattened by the Holiday Express.

Here's what I DON'T want to do.

1. Watch that live performance of "The Sound of Music" with Carrie Underwood on TV this week. Seriously, who thought this was a good idea? Does the world really need any more singing children wearing curtains this Christmas? I think not.

2. Spend a lot of time in stores. I know there are people who enjoy mingling at malls, but I'm not one of them. The only crowds I like are at football games. When my team is crushing the opposition. For the first time ever I already have most of my shopping done, and yes. I shopped local.

3. Harbor unrealistic expectations. Of course we all want a perfect holiday where no one has a meltdown because the fudge didn't set up or someone introduced politics into the conversation or certain family members refused to set aside their long-standing differences. BUT COME ON. Get a group of people together — especially if they're related — and stuff happens. No sense in labeling your holiday a failure just because it does.

4. Feel obligated to act on all of our family's traditions. True, traditions can be the glue that binds families together, but they can also feel oppressive — especially if you've acquired a lot of them over the years. There's no harm in pulling on your curtain lederhosen and saying so long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye to traditions that your family has outgrown.

On the other hand, I want to DO the following things.

1. Listen to Christmas music. All kinds. Secular. Traditional. On the radio. Live and in concert. Did you know there's a free 30-minute organ concert every day in December on Temple Square? It starts at noon on Mondays through Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays.

2. Consume food items that only taste good during the holidays. Like eggnog. Or possibly peppermint ice cream. Or mince pie. Or gingerbread. Or fruitcake. (Don't mock. I heart.)

3. Remember the people who are no longer here — my grandparents, my father-in-law, Sharon and Shauna, Marilyn and Becky.

4. Look at Christmas lights. Thanks to all of you who get your Clark Griswold on and go crazy in your front yards. I salute you.

5. Attend "The Nutcracker" for the first time in over 10 years.

6. Read picture books to my granddaughter and make some cookies with her, too.

7. Stand on the front porch each night and watch the progress of the moon against a winter's sky.

8. Savor any time spent with family and friends.

9. And finally? Be OK with myself if I don't do any of the above.

Hope your December this year is a satisfying one.