By Lin Brehmer

Amy from Wheaton wrote,

“Hi Lin, What you are hoping to get for Christmas?”

What a thoughtful question.

With the Christmas music hammering away at our imaginations, we have to sort through the tinsel and the tawdry until we know what we want.

What do any of us want for Christmas?

Aim higher.

Aim lower.

Do you know that the hippopotamus is considered the most dangerous mammal in Africa? And their mating rituals would require extra kitty litter.

In fact desiring any living thing for Christmas requires a frank discussion and, of course, mutual consent.

Were Christmas wishes easier when we were little? One would assume that since a child wants everything, anything will do. Bad assumption. Children will focus on one item like a heat-seeking missile.

We know we are no longer children when clothing starts replacing toys.

“No Star Wars Legos this year. But look, a sweater! It’s a little big but you’ll grow into it.”

When I was six, I wanted a suit of armor. Yes. Helmet. Breastplate. The whole shot. Sir Lin on the streets of the city looking like someone one cup short of a grail. But as much as I yearned to exemplify the courage of the Red Cross Knight, as much as I wanted to hold myself to the courtly ideal of virtue, I outgrew it. Well, last year. As a kid, a suit of armor was a ridiculous request, but now I think all Chicago schoolkids should be issued complete suits of armor.

Whaddya want for Christmas? I’ll never forget the Christmas my mother bought The Who “Tommy” for me. I wore that vinyl out.

But when we asked my mom what she wanted she always said,

“All I want is a little cooperation.”

She had three little boys so her wish was never realized. That’s the problem with intangibles. So hard to find at the big box stores. So mom got homemade ash trays and popsicle stick trevits to put under hot dishes. I remember thinking that my gift of a bulbous red citronella candle was quite elegant.

Our wishes for Christmas start to resemble prayers.

We love a neatly wrapped present tucked under a tree. A book. A casserole dish. A new baseball hat. But in our hearts we ache for something deeper. The things we want are not as vibrant as the things we remember.

What we all want for Christmas is just a little more time. Just a little more time. Because as the years gather behind us, time is the one thing more precious than any stone.

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