On Thanksgiving Day, our family sits around the table and composes our Christmas Wish Lists and then we make copies and hope Christmas Day we'll find exactly what we want under the Christmas tree.
My 10-year-old niece, Abby, used her dad's laptop and gave us a power-point presentation!
As I sat there with my paper and pencil trying to jot down her list I felt like I was in a business meeting with a high-powered executive.
There was one slight problem.
To this old dinosaur, it was like she was talking in a foreign language.
Her top gift requests are from the techno world ranging from Wii games to Kinex X Box U Draw to iPod.
These items were followed by Paper Jamz, Fushigi, Cuponk, Nano Bot, Loopz and Zoobles.
Mom turned to me and said, "Do you see why I don't want to be here anymore? I don't understand what you people are talking about anymore!"
I put my hand out and said, "Don't look at me! I'm as clueless as you are."
When a picture of a sweater came up on the screen I yelled, "That's mine! I know what that is!"
Zach, my 18-year-old nephew, wants one thing-a new snowboard, Jennie Rose, 22, admits she wants everything in the world, and George wants a log-splitter, thermal underwear and a belt. (Guess what he's getting from me and it has nothing to do with wood.) Mom insists we're not to buy her anything so we got no list from her and Diane insists she wants to be surprised, so she didn't give us a list. (Yet. There WILL be a list, as soon as she can write again after I've twisted her arm.) Becky wants a new camera lens and Jim is asking for work shirts. (Bor-ing.) Harry is asking for a new Carhart hooded sweatshirt. (No imagination.)
What's on my list?
I love gift cards. I'm requesting one from the State Theater so I can book one of it's great shows coming up in the new year and a CD, "The Best of Dan Fogelberg." I'd love to find the new book by my favorite star, Barbra Streisand under the tree.
On the way to work this morning, I inserted Babs' Christmas CD in the car's CD player to help me feel the Christmas spirit. As she started singing "My Grown Up Christmas Wish," I really listened to the words.
"Do you remember me, I sat upon your knee, I wrote to you, With childhood fantasies. Well, I'm all grown up now, And still need help somehow, I'm not a child, But my heart still can dream. So here's my lifelong wish, My grown up Christmas list, Not for myself, But for a world in need..."
I so remember the excitement of Christmas as a child and visiting Santa Claus at the Hess's Department Store on Hamilton Street in Allentown. It was so beautiful and enchanting, filling a child's imagination with the possibility of getting her heart's desire on Christmas morning over the years, from a Betsy Wetsy doll to a bicycle.
Those were magical years indeed. But alas, we all grow up. Our Christmas Wish Lists now usually reflect our practical needs with a few "just because I really want this" gift to make it fun.
But the song goes on to express a different kind of "grown up wish list."
"No more lives torn apart, That wars would never start, And time would heal all hearts."
That is a daily prayer of mine that there be peace on earth. What a wondrous gift that would be if all our men and women serving in our military could be home for Christmas because there was no war.
"And everyone would have a friend, And right would always win, And love would never end, This is my grown-up Christmas list."
I wish that every man and woman who is jobless finds a job, that no one loses their job and that our country finds a way to bring industry back to our country to keep our men and women working. I wish that we would find a way to shelter our homeless and a way to feed our hungry. I wish that each and every one of us could learn to love our "neighbors" as we should.
This is my grown up Christmas list.
My mom's is, that no child goes to bed hungry.
The song continues with, "What is this illusion called, The innocence of youth, Maybe only in that blind belief, Can we ever find the truth."
It amazes me how we spend hundreds of dollars and precious time, trying to find the "perfect" gifts that will bring happiness and joy to our loved ones. Then we spend more money on wrapping paper and bows to make them even more "special." Christmas morning is spent opening gift after gift, hoping the one thing we really wanted is tucked inside.
And for a few lovely moments, we bask in the glow of someone's generosity.
But has a hurting soul been healed?
Have all wars ended?
Has someone's job been saved?
Maybe that's why so many of us respond to the pleas of giving to area food pantries, Toys for Tots, Angel Trees and missions at this time of year and make donations to Meals on Wheels, bloodmobiles and organizations that need monetary help to go on offering the assistance they do. As grown-ups, I think we're hoping we can make a life difference to someone and that a ripple effect occurs and all our grown-up wishes for the world will come true.
So, I really hope you receive something on your Christmas Wish List, whether it comes wrapped in pretty paper or as an answer to a heart-felt prayer.