Black Friday is here and the local morning news stations seemed to be at every shopping location to interview the blurry-eyed, giggly, sleep deprived consumers. As a service to the community they periodically provided tips to their viewers and at one point this morning, a shopper distilled the reporting into one concise message.

In a matter of seconds she passed on her expert, motherly advice. Like most wise statements, her message was deceptively simple and easy to dismiss as obvious. But that is what makes it difficult to follow. She asks her children to make a list and give it some consideration.

At the official start of the holiday shopping season, this mom was still full of cheer and goodwill. Perhaps that will change, but it was clear that she knew how to share the spirit of the season with her children, along with the example that responsibility doesn’t have to damper their spirits. She asks her children to make a shortlist of the things that they really want so they can accept that it won’t be possible to get everything on their long list.

Like a list of pros and cons, this system can help to see a situation clearly and know what is really important. I realize that getting the right doll for Christmas might not be the most critical issue during this season. However, making a list is a great tool to help gain perspective on a situation and it provides an opportunity for self-examination. Now that’s a recipe for holiday cheer!

Right now I am testing this theory as I‘m feeling anxious about two dolls that are on sale. When I originally saw their photos my eyes bugged out and my jaw dropped…really. They seemed made for my collection, but as each far exceeded my price limit, I could dismiss them. I’ve learned that this is the easiest way for me to give up the idea of getting something. Additionally, their limited editions meant there was little hope that I could get them at a good price later on. (Gee, thanks Black Friday!) Typically, as I was free to look elsewhere, I set my sights lower and found deals on other dolls that fit into my collection.

But today I realized that, all things being equal, these less expensive dolls would never have made my top five list.

My current list of considerations: patience, hope, compromise, Agnes Dreary and Renee Devereaux.