Thursday, October 22, 2009

Lists, or, How Not to Get Three Green Sweaters For Christmas

Something about today makes me excited about Christmas. It could be the finishing touches I've been putting on the holiday issue of the home design magazine I edit, or maybe it's the pumpkin spice latte I got from Starbucks...

I was thinking this morning about starting to pull together a Christmas list. That may sound premature and/or greedy, but you need to know that my family is BIG into Christmas lists. We're fanatical about lists. My mom will start asking for my and JB's lists in another couple of weeks. Everyone in my family (and JB's - another reason why we're a good match) has to make a Christmas list. We heap well-meaning ridicule on those whose lists (my sister) are not long enough.

I have friends who are horrified at the list-making, saying that a Christmas list spoils the surprise, or that it makes the holiday all about gifts. I disagree, friends. It actually makes it less about gifts because I don't have to wring my hands throughout the holidays over what to get someone and whether she'll like it - it's on her list! This is especially helpful for those (my sister) who are difficult to shop for. It also cuts down on the amount of stuff I receive that I don't like or already have.

A huge portion of my Christmas list is books. I've taken to keeping my TBR list on my Crackberry, and updating it throughout the year as I come across blog reviews of great-sounding books. Then all of these books go on my Christmas list - well OK, not ALL of the books, because that would probably scare my family. Plus JB would remind me we're running out of shelf space in our house as it is...

On my Crackberry book list, I put a few shorthand phrases in parentheses after each title/author so I'll remember what the book is about, or why it appealed to me.

It struck me that these tags could function like rough drafts for book taglines, or a jumping off point for the elevator pitch. For the book you're writing, how would someone describe it in five words or less? Because this post is already long, I'll post my list of books tomorrow, along with the shorthand tags I've given them - I'd love to start a dialogue with you, lovely readers, about how you describe the book(s) you're writing.

Until then, are you in the yay or nay camp on the Christmas list debate?


jmberrygirl said...

Yay to the list, but I'm doing handmade, homemade gifts this year so I don't much care what's on the other peoples' list!! My book's shorthand tag: Lonely sole survivor of family tragedy finds answers from equally lonesome detective in a twisted tale of deceit, bribery and attraction.

Dominique said...

I'm a nay, just because I can never think of what it is I might want.

I'm not going to lie, though. When I comes to shopping for holidays, my twin and I long ago simplified the process to going to a bookstore together, picking up what we liked, swapping piles and then informing others, "This is what she'll like." It's like listing, but without paper.

writtenwyrdd said...

I heart lists because I am the WORST person in the world to shop for. I generally cannot stand anyone picking anything for me. I'll dislike the color, or it won't fit, or if it's a book it's something I wouldn't ever read or already own. Same thing with hobby stuff (very specific needs) and on and on. I'm a terrible person to shop for, and even though I try to be gracious, the family knows how picky I can be and they want a list. And half the time, I get an amazon gift certificate regardless. (How well they know me!)

On the other hand, I don't usually shop from a person's list. They usually don't give me them, anyhow; but I think they like the stuff I make for them or get them.

I'm a much better giver than receiver anyhow.

Cerrissa said...

I'm sure my mom will start asking for my list in a couple of weeks too. my sister and I always like to add a specific phrase to the end of the list to keep things exciting: "lots of surprises!"

i got a chai pumpkin spice latte the other day at the tea shop next to my office and it instantly improved my day by about a zillion %.

Happy Fall!

Peanut said...

Yes to the lists. My family has always done the list thing, merely out of necessity. Otherwise, we end up with surprise things we didn't want. That isn't to say we don't still try to get surprises for each other, in fact, that word is usually a list item, but when there is something specific you want it really helps.

Nevertheless, I usually end up with gift certificates from Amazon, Hobby Lobby, or the local antique mall... either that, or the item has something to with the Scarlet Pimpernel.

Maybe I don't need lists, my family knows me too well. =P

Lenore said...

I'd probably like 3 green sweaters for christmas! But yeah, my family is big into making lists too. I always find it very difficult to think of something to put on mine, especially because my family members just REFUSE to buy books. It's weird...but they think I have too many already!! Can you believe it?!!!