All I Want For Christmas

“Let’s not buy anything for each other for Christmas this year,” I told my husband last month. “Let’s just appreciate all that we have and focus on our time together, with our friends and families. All I want is for us to be happy and for the world to be at peace. That’s all I need.”

This was my goal for this year. Not to amass more material things but to love what I have, appreciate all that we’ve accomplished. Go simple. Be stress-free.

“Fine.” My husband said. And so it was.

I spent the next weeks basking in my idealistic glow, needing nothing and feeling pretty good about myself. Until recently. I work from home, so I spend a good portion of my time in sweats and slippers. I noticed my slippers are getting a bit shabby. They’ve got to be about three years old and have seen better days. As I commute to work (walk the eleven steps to the back bedroom at the end of the hall – my office), I wonder if I should have suggested to my husband that he get me a new pair. You know, since I wear them every day.

No. I can live with these old slippers. They’re fine. They are. No holes. No obvious tear in the fabric. They keep my feet warm. I’ll make do. I want to simplify my life. Live stress-free. I just want world peace.

Every night I read in bed before I go to sleep. Lately I’m trying to ignore the fact that my Kindle Touch, four years old (which in technology years is ancient) is coming apart at the seams. Literally, it is splitting along the top. I’m surprised it’s still working. I wonder how long it’ll last.

Could be I was a bit hasty about my request for no gifts this Christmas.

Really, all I want is to be happy, stress-free, have world peace, and a pair of (Ugg) slippers and a Kindle Paperwhite. That’s all. No more.

As the cold weather sets in, I’m trying to ignore the nagging pain at the base of my back. I’m getting old. Stiff. Could probably use a full body massage. Would certainly add to my stress-free type of life. If I felt relaxed and loose, I’d certainly be happy and not so agitated. My children would benefit. World peace starts at home.

In essence, I just want to be happy, have world peace, a pair of Ugg slippers (mine are worn to the soles), a Kindle Paperwhite and a full body massage. That’s it. Stress-free. Simple.

I wonder if I should have hinted at all of the wonderful books that have been released that would fit nicely on my new Kindle Paperwhite. Good books always make me happy. And I could spread peace and goodwill throughout the world by giving reviews online.

So, my Christmas list looks something like this: happiness, world peace, a pair of Ugg slippers (what was I thinking to believe I could wear these shoddy things even one more day?), a Kindle Paperwhite, a full body massage and an Amazon gift card.

Now, how do I tell my husband I revised my list to include a few other high priority items along with world peace and happi…Wait! Why is the UPS man backing into our driveway? Could it be? Yes! He’s coming to the house! He’s carrying packages. Yes!

Ahem. As I was saying…World peace. Happiness. Isn’t that all we need?

I wish you all a wonderful holiday and Peace, Health and Happiness in the New Year.

See you in 2016!!


My Christmas Wish

If you ask what I want for Christmas,

This is the answer I’ll always give:

I want your heart to beat with mine

For as long as we both shall live.

It doesn’t require legal tender.

It cannot be purchased in a store.

I want your arms wrapped around me,

Protecting me, forever more.

I want you tell me you love me,

Every evening and every dawn,

And mean what you say, as you declare it each day.

With every word, our love is re-born.

Without you, all possessions mean nothing.

I don’t find comfort from gems or stones.

Or feel my soul connect with a car,

It’s all worthless if I’m alone.

These are all fine as long as you’re here,

But they mean nothing whatsoever to me.

I want our spirits to rise together,

And live for eternity.

If you ask what I want for Christmas,

My answer is simple and true.

I’ll never want for anything

As long as I have you.

Goodbye, Santa.


ImageIn December of my son’s sixth grade year, fifteen days before Christmas, he asked me if Santa was real.

After I mentally scraped my heart off the floor, I sat on his bed, where I hemmed and hawed and stumbled, until he finally said, “You have to tell me, Mom. The kids on the bus are all saying it’s you who gives us presents. Santa is not real. Tell me the truth.”

The truth. I looked into his wide, almond eyes, as he waited for me to tell him the one thing a parent never wants to admit to their child. I silently chastised myself for not driving this kid to school everyday. The bus is a petri dish of harsh, real-life information. And I wondered, why is he asking me this? Shouldn’t he pretend until he’s in college, like I did?

I started to shake my head in denial, thinking I could eek out one more Christmas, and then I saw something in those eyes: complete trust. If I didn’t answer him honestly, when he finds out I lied, then instead of coming to me with questions about sex, and drugs, and other topics I dread, he’d keep to his dream-crushing peers on that bus. So, I did what I never imagined I would do.

I told my child that Santa doesn’t exist.

What I really told him, off the cuff, was that there once was a man named St. Nick, who gave gifts to children around Christmas, in the same way the three wise men brought gifts to Jesus when he was born (trying always to keep Christ in Christmas). Eventually, it became too much for one man, and so all the parents in the world started to help, and that’s how the tradition of Christmas started.

I was under pressure. Cut me some slack.

He took it hard. And so did I.

When a child segues from unquestionable belief to doubt, it’s the beginning of the end of their innocence. We might as well let him watch Family Guy, and drink beer.

Perhaps I’m overreacting.

My younger son also figured it out around the same age (damn that bus!), though he accepted the news in stride. So, this is the first year Santa won’t be playing a role. A tough transition for a parent, if you ask me.

For those of you still in the wonderful throes of third-party gifting, there’s an upside to this story.

My worry ratio about how happy they’ll be on Christmas morning has gone down tremendously. I’m no longer dealing with the difficult thought process of: How come Santa brings Bobby a smart phone and electric scooter and not me? Weren’t I a good boy this year too? 

These are the questions I am happy to have behind me.

Now, when lists are made, I can set reasonable expectations: Don’t expect to find a furry friend with four feet, or anything with a motor, under that tree. 

The big day starts at eight o’clock, instead of six (HUGE plus!).

I still hide their presents, and put them out when they’re sleeping. I don’t think I’ll ever stop doing that.

We’re in another phase of our lives: our babies are no longer babies, but teenaged boy-men. As much as I long for the days of unabashed glee and easy acceptance of a generous, obese, old guy in a red suit, breaking and entering into our house while we sleep,  I’m grateful and happy, especially this time of year, where lifetime memories are made. 

I treasure mine, and if I try hard enough, I can still smell grandma’s house: the scent of homemade raviolis and meat sauce mixed with filterless Camel cigarette smoke; tiny rooms filled to capacity with family — cousins I grew up with and miss, because they have their own children now.

My sons will have their own memories, with their cousins, and family, and love surrounding them.

They may no longer believe in Santa Claus, but I pray, like me, they will always believe in the magic of Christmas.

To Be Or Not To Be….Honest

Have you ever driven somewhere, radio blasting, singing along to Barry Manilow’s Looks Like We Made It, only to switch the station to something more contemporary when your friend gets into the car?

Have you ever been enjoying a Disney movie (read as ‘porn’) in the middle of the afternoon, only to quickly change the channel when your spouse walks into the room because you don’t want him to know what you’ve been watching?

Have you ever had an hour-long conversation with someone who was intently listening to you, only to find out later in the bathroom mirror there was something hanging from your nose or stuck between your front teeth?  You feel mortified and re-live the entire dialogue, inwardly cringing and embarrassed? All this time, you thought you were THAT interesting…

Ahem..yeah, me neither.

But for those who might have answered yes to any of the above, why is it we feel the need to disguise our true desires or preferences? Do we think we’ll be judged if we enjoy the  music of an old, closeted gay guy that our mother turned us onto (heh heh…I’m assuming)?

Is it that catastrophic if a part of our body fails us and let’s something hang out? Or makes a noise?

Maybe. Yes.

As a writer, I should be able to lay it all out there, expose my true, inner self. Tell the world, So what? Yes, I enjoy thirty-five-year-old music that is not the Grateful Dead.  I may even circle the block an extra time to listen to an entire Neil Diamond song, or shed a tear to a soulful Englebert Humperdinck tune.

If that were true (and I’m not saying it is) I wouldn’t admit it. Why is it so hard for me to be honest?

Just once, I want to say, Oh, that kernel between my teeth? Of course I know it’s there. I was saving it for later.

Acceptance is everything. Maybe I’m a conformer.

I see students at my son’s high school wearing pink hair, or black lipstick, or clothes not sold at Abercrombie or American Eagle, and I think, Good for you! Be yourself, while simultaneously wondering, Oh, you poor kid. How many friends do you have?

What is my problem? I hesitate to say I lack confidence. I mean, look at me, I’ve blogged about my first Brazilian wax experience for God’s sake! (And if you haven’t read it – or gotten a Brazilian – I urge you to do both).

I’m an open book. Or am I?

Can I admit to the world that I can’t pass the movie Never Been Kissed without watching that awesome ending where Drew Barrymore waits for her first real kiss from Michael Vartan on a pitcher’s mound? I’ve seen it twenty times, and still need to see it again.

Or that I cry every time I watch A League of Their Own? That ending, where the old women are playing baseball, with the Madonna song playing  in the background…This Used To Be Our Playground. Lost youth- gets me every time.

Don’t even get me started on Hallmark commercials…Tell me I’m appreciated. Tell me it won’t be the same without me there. Tell me you love me…

Excuse me while I compose myself…

Perhaps not. Perhaps, if that were all true, I’d keep it to myself, and rock my head and snap my fingers to Pink and Barenaked Ladies, and LMFAO, and not admit that my favorite song is You Make Me Feel Brand New by the Stylistics.


That’s why I love fiction- love to write it and read it. Because characters can love all of those things and they won’t be judged or ridiculed because they’re made up. And if my protagonist wants to watch ‘Disney’ movies, it’s just to move the plot along- though realistically, I probably won’t be writing any steamy sex scenes while my father walks this earth. I’d love to sit at the table just once when EL James asks her father to pass the stuffed grape leaves at Christmas dinner. Awkward!

I wonder if we all try, for even one day, to say what’s on our minds, or listen to what we want to hear, or watch what we want to watch, in front of someone who we’re trying to impress.

We might be surprised.

There are a lot more Manilow fans out there than we think. They just haven’t come out yet.