By Sharon Randall
Scripps Howard News Service
December 01, 2004
It wasn't even December yet. I didn't want to think about Christmas - not while I still had a sink full of dishes, a refrigerator full of leftovers and a house full of company from Thanksgiving. Still time?
Then I looked across my back fence and discovered that once again, for about the 30th year in a row, my neighbor - "Myra Madonna" - had decorated her whole house for Christmas while I was still trying to figure out which end of the turkey to stuff.
How does she do that, bless her heart, year after year? She says it's because she just loves to deck her halls. Either that, or she just loves to show me up.
Not that it's a contest. We all have our gifts. Myra's gift is organization. She is good at being prepared. My gift is procrastination. I am good at being late.
In fact, I'm so good at it I've decided to adopt the line from that catalog as my motto for the holidays, or even for life: "There's still time!"
Catchy, don't you think?
Here, free of charge, is what I like to call "A Procrastinator's Guide for the Holidays."
01. There's still time to clean out your closets and cupboards and give all the stuff you don't need to someone who needs it.
02. There's still time NOT to over-spend, over-eat, over-indulge, or over-do. Be kind to your budget, your body and innocent bystanders.
03. There's still time NOT to bake (unless you bake for me).
04. There's still time NOT to send Christmas cards (unless you send one to me at P.O. Box 931, Pacific Grove CA., 93950).
05. There's still time NOT to do anything for anyone, unless you truly want to do it. To do otherwise would be a shame and not very Christmas-like.
06. There's still time to recall good times gone by and good people you've loved and lost. Take a moment to remember them, and smile.
07. There's still time to forget old hurts, bad memories and all the Scrooges from Christmases Past. Take a moment to let them go, and laugh.
08. There's still time to spend time, an hour at least, with each of the people you love most, doing the things they most love to do - eating lunch, or playing catch or just watching the Warriors look bad on TV.
09. There's still time to teach your children or grandchildren or anyone at all the true meaning of Christmas - grace - and to show them by your example how to give freely with an open heart and to receive gratefully with an open mind.
10. There's still time to read your favorite Christmas stories, to sing your favorite carols, to watch your favorite sappy Christmas movies and to take a walk around town admiring other people's decorations.
11. There's still time NOT to do everything. If you try to do everything, you won't have time to do the things that really matter to you.
12. There's still time to make this your best Christmas ever. It doesn't have to be the year that you had the cleanest house, or threw the biggest party or knitted reindeer slippers for everybody on your list. You might not get the gift you've always wanted - especially if you don't bother to tell anyone that you want it. But you can make this a season of giving and receiving, of grace and peace, for you and yours.
Remember. There's still time.
(Sharon Randall is the author of "Birdbaths and Paper Cranes." She can be reached at P.O. Box 931, Pacific Grove CA 93950 or at randallbay(at)earthlink.net)