Friday, December 2, 2011

Making A List and Checking It Twice

By Carmen Tuchelli, India Hayes's older sister, from Amanda Flower’s Murder in a Basket

I don’t think it’s any surprise to anyone that I will be hosting Christmas at my house this year. Christmas is a working holiday for mother since she is a pastor, my brother Mark is off wandering the country—he’d better be back for Christmas—and my sister India, well, no one wants burnt tofurky on their plate.

So even though I have a husband and three children, including newborn twin girls, I will host Christmas. It’s only December 2nd, but there so much to do. The only option is to get out my trusty clipboard and make a list.

1) Decorate the house. This year the theme is Winter Wonderland. Everything must be blue and white.

2) Buy more blue twinkle lights to fit the theme. Better get a few boxes of white for good measure.

3) Write church Christmas pageant script.

4) Plan a vegetarian menu (There has to be something better than tofurky!)

5) Test vegetarian options out on my husband who is NOT a vegetarian and would much rather have a steak.

6) Brave Toys R Us for children’s presents. Do not let five-year-old son, Nicholas, see the Big Toy Book!

7) Find out if India plans to bring Detective Rick Mains to Christmas dinner.

8) Find out what’s going on with India and Detective Rick Mains, who is MY ex-boyfriend.

9) Wrap gifts.

10) Make costumes, cast, and direct church Christmas pageant.

11) Ask India if her landlady, Ina, will be joining us for Christmas dinner. If the answer is “yes,” hide breakables.

12) Buy matching Christmas sweaters for the family.

13) Make husband wear Christmas sweater.

14) Practice lines with Nicholas for church pageant.

15) Help Nicholas make gifts. No GLUE or GLITTER.

16) Take twins and Nicholas to meet Santa Claus.

17) Find out where Mark is and make him come home.

18) Bake cookies, 14 different kinds.

19) Bake a pie, no make that three pies, (Mom and Dad are bound to bring some of their hippy strays to the meal.)

20) Convince India to stay away from dead bodies.

Something tells me the last item on the list will be the most difficult.


Wanna win and Advance Readers Copy of MURDER IN A BASKET? Amanda is giving away four copies during the month of December. Click over to her blog for details and to enter!


Amanda Flower writes the India Hayes Mystery Series. The first novel in the series, MAID OF MURDER, was nominated for an Agatha Award. The sequel, MURDER IN A BASKET, releases February 2012. First in a new series, A PLAIN DEATH, coming July 2012. To learn more visit Amanda online at You can also follow Amanda at and


  1. Just reading your list makes me tired:). Don't forget to relax and enjoy the season too--that's good advice for all of us characters!

  2. You've caused me to write a list of my own. Here it is:

    1. Go into hibernation.

    Bye until spring!

  3. Janet,
    I like your list MUCH better. Don't tell my super-mom sister...

  4. Wow, that's quite a list Carmen. Good thing you're starting early in the month. Good luck with it all, esp. the last one.

  5. The word that springs to my mind is "delegate".

  6. Dearest Carmen, you are a woman after my own heart. You have however, omitted two crucial items. You must take a photo of the family in their matching Christmas sweaters to send to everyone you have ever met, and don't forget to throw a party for your friends and neighbors. Otherwise you're off to a good start.

    ~ Natasha

  7. And a family newsletter... must write one of those to highlight accomplishments from the past year!!

  8. Thank you everyone for stopping by!

    Natasha & Victoria, Thank you for reminding me about those other tasks to put onto my list! My goodness, I can't believe I forgot the the family photos and the Christmas letter! I can only blame this on stress over worrying about my baby sister. It's tough be the responsible older sister, let me tell you! Those tasks are on my list now!

    India, I saw your comment too! We need to talk...

  9. Wow, Carmen, that's quite a list! I think you need to add in one additional point - December 26th, solo vacation in Aruba. You're going to need it after the Christmas season! Hopefully India will stay out of trouble while you're gone...

  10. Carmen, I love your list. I just hope India doesn't find a body when you have your holiday dinner.