It’s the most wonderful time of the year: That time when we all give thanks for what we already have, then storm the malls for 30-ish days to buy more stuff. We’re constantly asked what we want for Christmas, then the rest of the year we try to reconcile our consumer culture with our desire to be content with what we have.
So when I’m asked for my wish list, I confess that instead of thinking of presents, I wax idealistic and think in terms of what I would want if it weren’t for that pesky reality issue. In no particular order, this is all I want for Christmas — or ever:
1. A couple do-overs.
I actually don’t regret the headline “mistakes” of my life — like saying “I do” when we didn’t or changing my college major in order to graduate on time – those things have led me to where I am today, which is exactly where I want to be.
It’s those little things I’d like to go back and fix. Like the time in 4th grade when the kids on the bus were teasing my little brother and I chimed in rather than stood up for him. Or skipping my friend Sara’s wedding because I didn’t want to make the drive from Cincinnati to Traverse City. A mulligan wouldn’t change the course of my life, but it could have made a big difference to someone I care about.
2. Everyone to give a crap about the environment.
It’s the only earth we have; I don’t get why some people are able to turn off their give-a-damn when it comes to taking care of it. Like the woman who told me that recycling is “impossible” at her house because she has two teenagers. Nice excuse, but don’t teenagers typically care more about that stuff than their parents? Set the example, mom. I’d even be satisfied if everyone just turned off the water while brushing their teeth, for crying out loud.
3. No more homeless pets.
We already have three cats at home (reduced from four this summer, RIP Hattie May), but if I didn’t have to clean up after them, we’d have more. It kills me to walk by the shelter and see those poor puppies and kitties waiting for some love and attention. Please spay and neuter your pets. And the next time you want a furry friend, adopt from the shelter instead of buying from the store.
4. Money to cease being taboo.
I always say that if people walked around with their credit card balances displayed, everyone would feel better about their financial situation. It saddens me how many wonderful, successful people I know are secretly freaking out inside about money. They feel trapped in a lifestyle that is destroying them financially. If we were more honest with each other about our fiscal challenges, we’d all find it easier to resolve the problems and focus our energy on the things that really matter to us.
Of course I’d love to see world peace, an end to greed, and a cure for cancer, but let’s not get carried away. These four wishes are near and dear to my heart. What would you put on your suspended-reality wish list? I’d love to hear your answer in the comments. And happy holidays!