Last year while pondering what to make for gift baskets, I looked up limoncello recipes. The first one I looked at listed the prep time as 4 hours -- and 21 days. Oops. At that point, I  had 4 hours, but certainly not 21 days, so I moved on to Plan B and added "Make limoncello" to my growing holiday wish list.


My wish list isn't filled with presents. It's a pie-in-the-sky list of crafts and cooking for my Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come: clay dough ornaments formed in cookie molds, star-shaped suet treats for the birds, rainbow cookies, and luminaries made of ice to decorate the front walk. The red folder is packed with promise, full of magazine clippings with ideas for decoration, ingestion and diversion.

Somehow in September I think I'll have time to make my own holiday cards, but by this point, I know I'll be lucky to jot a quick note to everyone on the card list, something vaguely meaningful and almost legible. The luminaries, a long-standing bucket list item for me, await a time when my freezer is empty enough to accommodate them. So not going to happen this year, as the freezer is now a Rubik's cube of boxes of cookies and mini breads waiting their turn on a platter or in a gift basket.

Each year the dreams fall off, one by one, as reality in the form of time asserts itself. The first casualty this year: canning cranberry chutney for the gift baskets. OK, next year it is. Until last night I was still clinging to hope that I'd make the time to sew reusable fabric gift wraps that I could slip over shirt boxes and CDs. The fabric and trimmings are bought, but  the time isn't, with the first volley of gift exchanges hours away. So next year.

This year I've snatched one item from wish list purgatory: The limoncello bottles are in the freezer, 4 hours and 21 days after I started. Now I just need to make fancy labels -- and apparently get another color printer cartridge.

What's on your holiday dream list?

Luckily, as the Grinch finds out, the holiday still comes just the same, list or no list. Either way, at some point it's 2 a.m. and I've got glitter in my hair.