Countdown – ‘Tis the season for suspense-building lists.

Everybody loves (or at least loves to hate) a list. This is especially true around the end of the year, when our inclination to rank things and to build coherent narratives out of the chaos of loosely related events goes into overdrive.

For this week’s challenge, I invite you to breathe new life into the established genre of the end-of-year countdown list.


I don’t make lists unless I’m going grocery shopping. I just don’t. I keep a running list of things I need to deal with in my head. I keep a calendar on my computer with appointments and other important dates, but no lists.

Do I love lists? Do I hate lists?

I have no feelings at all about lists. They have a place and serve a purpose, but can you really call it writing? I know David Letterman made a career out of lists, but he’s not a writer, is he?


I thought I’d add a postscript on the subject of the tree. Every year, we face the Christmas tree conundrum. I love real trees, but I hate the mess and I always feel bad watching the tree die.

tabletop live tree

It bothers me. Maybe it’s stupid. No doubt I’m excessively sentimental. I anthropomorphize animals and plants, but there you have it. So, we decided to buy a live tree from L.L. Bean.

It’s a baby Alberta spruce that comes decorated with lights and real starfish. When the ground thaws in the spring, we will plant it in the back yard and watch it grow.

I get to have a real Christmas tree and don’t have to watch it slowly die. Instead I can watch it grow and thrive. I don’t know how the rest of family — other than Garry who helped me choose it — will feel, but I’m happy.

Even should the rest of our tribe decide to put up another tree, this one is small enough to be a beautiful centerpiece that will happily occupy the dining room table throughout the holidays and live on long after the wrapping paper and bows are gone.

Categories: Anecdote

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22 replies

  1. I don’t do Christmas, just eat and be merry and we do have a 20 cm tree with 6 lights on top of the cupboard. More will not work with two cats, they love climbing trees Simon’s Cat Christmas and skip the ad at the beginning


    • This tree is so tiny, it would be unclimbable by the most ambitious feline. It’s a baby tree with a few light. In a flowerpot. A festive centerpiece. And that’s about as much holiday cheer as I can muster right now. I’ve noticed that after the kids are grown and in our case, the grandchildren are also past the age of wonder, our enthusiasm for the holidays takes a nose-dive. My son was the first to ask if maybe we don’t need the whole tree? This is our compromise. It’s a tree. Just a really really really small one.


      • Sounds something like our tree. when we used to give presents, the tree would be hidden beneath the presents, but we no longer do presents, except for my oldest. My youngest is off somewhere with his girlfriend. It is just me, Mr. Swiss and my oldest with two cats (plus a few computers and iPads).


  2. Great list. I love your Christmas tree. We did that one year when I was little and planted it outside. It ended up taller than the house but was great to climb. 😀


  3. I love the idea of the plant-able tree! The photo is so cute!

    I’ve been threatening (to myself) for a few years now to go to a small tree (ours is 7′ tall and I place it between the living room and dining room entryway). This might be the last years for it, I’m getting too old to be lugging it from the garage, putting it together, stringing lights and ornaments. Ugh. But, it’s so pretty when it’s finished and I leave it up long after Christmas to make my trouble worthwhile. 🙂


    • My son came upstairs last night and asked if we REALLY need the tree. It’s not just putting it up. It’s hauling it out of the attic along with the three huge crates of decorations. Kaity, the granddaughter, can be counted on to put it up … but no one wants to take it down and put all that stuff away. This year, it was well into summer before the decorations finally made it to the attic. I was tempted to just leave them in the dining room and maybe I should have. This cute little thing is the size of a centerpiece for the table and can live on to become a tree. I don’t mind spending the money on it nearly as much because it’s alive. I like the alive thing. And yes, it is awfully cute!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Fruitcake? Hey, remember Gibbs’ rule#9.


  5. I’ve often thought about buying one of those little live trees and then planting it in the back yard. The problem is I would have nowhere to keep it between Christmas and the time the ground thaws enough in Spring to dig a hole. There’s no room in my living room, either, now that Puppy Cody and her crate are in there. She’s big enough now that we could ditch the crate, but she likes to hide all her treasures in there – much better than hiding them inside my couch!

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you can keep it in a bright place and only water it lightly when it’s really dry, it should survive until spring. We put things by the French doors in the dining room. It’s bright, but not direct sunlight. Most things thrive there. You can plant the tree (we’ve done it a couple of times in the past) as early as February if the ground will let you … as late as May or June, otherwise.


  6. No drone for Garry? 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That live tree. I LOVE that.


  8. Oregon has the distinction of growing & selling the most Christmas trees of any state in the continental states.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, many lots advertise that their trees are from Oregon. As it happens, we have a Christmas tree farm a few houses away, up the street, so when we’ve bought real trees since we moved here, we go to Arrowhead Farm and pick our own. They give hayrides, too.



  1. Merry Christmas! (Top 10 Humour GIFs of to Brighten Your Day) | Ramisa the Authoress

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