I first hinted about Sharpie Day in a guest post for Mothering From Scratch. The very first year we were married, I went straight from Bride-zilla to Holiday-zilla. Remember? Something about hand-embossed menus.
It was about five days before “the day” and I was standing there with my to-do list, freaking out.
Me: What are you doing!
Hubby: What does it look like I’m doing? I’m re-caulking the windows.
Me: That’s not on my list.
(to be accurate, it wasn’t really even a list any longer. it was an entire project plan with milestones and due dates and sub-tasks and dependancies. i used to make my living doing that stuff, but still… no one should have Christmas in a gantt chart!)
He went on and caulked the windows while I remodeled the guest bathroom.
Me: NOW what are you doing?
Hubby: Changing the oil in your car. It needs doing.
Me: That’s not a Christmas task. It can wait.
We went through several more rounds of this where I became increasing shrewish and my husband did non-holiday tasks such as winterizing the grass, replacing the smoke detector batteries, and vacuuming his car.
Then he’d had enough.
Hubby: Let me see your list.
Me: Here! See how much I have to do and YOU’RE NOT HELPING.
Hubby: Here, let me help.
(he then digs through the junk drawer until he found a giant thick tipped black sharpie marker. the biggest thickest one they make. he walked into the bathroom with my list and his sharpie, and LOCKED THE DOOR.)
Me: What are you doing?
Hubby: Fixing your list.
(i am freaking out and hyperventilating. that list took HOURS to make. i’d printed it at work and didn’t have a printer at the house.)
When he came out, he handed me the list and just kept walking.
He had carefully taken the time to cross off the stuff that was ridiculous. He left the stuff that was focused on cleaning, cooking, and providing good hospitality. He just removed the stuff that was me trying to impress people.
I took a deep breath and was finally willing to be reasonable.
That’s when my husband and I sat down and actually discussed what we wanted Christmas to be for us – as a family.
The following Christmas, things went a bit smoother.
After I made my ridiculous list, I just handed it to him with a big black marker.
Hubby: What’s this for?
Me: It’s my to-do list for Christmas. I thought you might want to edit it.
He did. He crossed off the silly stuff, like hand-making gift baskets to give out to anyone who happened to ring our doorbell.
He also added a few things I’d missed. Stuff like “get some sleep” and “hug your husband.”
By our Fifth Christmas together, I’d learned to leave a few blank spots at the bottom of the list.
Hubby: Why are there blanks at the bottom of the list?
Me: That’s for you. If you have stuff like oil changes and yard maintenance that you are planning to do before Christmas, I’d like to know. That way I can leave you enough time to do it.
Sharpie Day is an honored tradition in our home now.
On December 15th, I’ll hand him my list and the marker. He’ll do the edit and add in his stuff.
Somewhere along the way, we added a budget meeting to the event. He sees how much I’ve spent so far and we discuss how much more there is to purchase.
Somehow, I still need it.
I love that he takes the time to weed out my ridiculousness and leave the important stuff.
Last year, I was trying to crochet matching hats for every member of our family. Other silly stuff that he’s crossed of the list in year’s past?
- Wrapping empty boxes to make the Christmas tree look pretty for pre-holiday photos.
- Sending everyone a list of “acceptable colors” for their Christmas presents to be wrapped in (or providing coordinating paper) for maximum photographic effect.
- Christmas themed toilet paper.
- Making an entire holiday dinner to eat on a road trip.
- Purchasing color coordinated outfits for each family member.
(there are others, but that’s enough. trust me. and if you actually do the empty boxes thing, i think that’s cool. it just wasn’t something that fit in our schedule.)
I love that my husband does this for me. Honestly, it’s not just a Christmas thing. Any time I start getting ridiculous schemes on my list, he’s more than happy to scratch it off.
(on the flip side, sometimes i hand him my list and he totally supports my crazy schemes because they’re good ideas that are achievable. i love that part too!)
If you don’t have Sharpie Day in your home, I highly recommend it. Find someone (it doesn’t have to be your spouse) that can weed through your list when it gets bloated and starts stressing you out.
Confession time – what task really needs to be deleted from YOUR list?
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://thishappymom.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/DSC_0036.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Houston Mom Blogger Susan Baker has a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood. She has two elementary school boys, one engineering husband, and one cat. She has a strange fascination for eggs, socks, and books. She spends far too much time on Social Media and at Target. She is crazy in love with her family. She serves an amazing God. She lives an ordinary life filled with wonder. [/author_info] [/author]