All I Want for Christmas . . .

My parents had a very simple rule when we were growing up. You "believe" in Santa and Santa will bring you goods on Christmas Morning.

I'm 33. This will be my 34th Christmas.

I have yet to state anything contrary to a position that aligns me with believing in Santa. And why WOULD I?

I like STUFF. I like getting my stocking STUFFed. With that in mind . . .

Dear Saint Nick -

I've been moderately good this year. With that in mind - please hook me up with a sampling or entirety of the following . . . .

1 - Tribes. It is a work thing, sure, but Seth Godin is seriously a friggin' genius and I am so jealous of people with big, big brains and small, contained egos.

2 - An Irish Sweater. I don't know why but I'm a sweater guy. Not a Bill Cosby sweater guy (let's be serious) but I like big, bulky, warm sweaters. The scratchier and heartier the better, frankly. Give me one of these and a pair of corduroys and get out of my way. It might get crazy. I might even go fishing or hunt for a four-leaf clover.

3 - The Hangover on DVD. Up was my favorite movie of the year (Where the Wild Things Are is a close second and I have high hopes for The Lovely Bones and Sherlock Holmes) but this was the FUNNIEST movie of the year. Hands down. I don't know that I need to own it . . . but I sure do want to. If only to watch the closing credits again and again and again.

4 - A New Wallet. It can either be one like my current one, a recycled tie wallet Wifey bought me from Narwal Co. or it could be a hot buttered toast wallet. I have to have some youthful joy in my life. It can't all be just sweater vests and penny loafers!

5 - A Few Good Works of Fiction. I don't know what happened to me. It might have been going straight from college to grad. school to resenting the written word altogether but I never got in to reading fiction. Don't get me wrong. I read. I like biographies and autobiographies and histories, etc. I've come to realize that I can learn all I want - but only good fiction is going to really help rewire my creative brain (and enhance my writing). I'll take some Safrin Foer. I'll read some Kidd. I'll whoop up some Pynchon. I'll finger through some Chabon. I'll wrestle with some Munro. I'll struggle through some Whitehead.

6 - The Art of Tim Burton. I'm a huge fan of Tim Burton and all his crazy, morbid, nuttiness with the silver lining and lovely imagery. A book of his sketches and other work is right up my crazy, morbid, nuttiness with the silver lining alley.

7 - The music of Joe Hisaishi. He's a genius. Bottom line. As wonderful as Hayao Miyazaki's films are (and they are allll great) the music behind them makes them even more special. He's my latest musical obsession. Sorry, Philip Glass.

8 - Some Art. Something tasteful but fun. Something like The United Plates of America.

9 - Something to cover my normal stink. I used to be a "cologne guy" - would not leave home without it, frankly. And I had several bottles at a time and I would mix it up a little with my earth and wood and floral and water scents. Then I just sort of stopped wearing it. Not sure why. Not sure I care why. Anywho - I want some good stink back.

10 - A combo to round out the list. How about world peace and my two front teeth.

Thanks, big guy!

- Sean


The Warm Glow of Lights . . .

No judgement, really, but I'm a bit of a purest when it comes to my holiday lights. I like "mini bulbs" and I like 'em white. I don't like 'em blinking and I don't like 'em chasing each other or doing anything silly.

It is not that there is anything "wrong" with colored lights or crazy manipulations of electrical current. Not at all. Time and place. Time and place.

I just prefer the traditional warmth and glow of the white bulb. They remind me of candle flames, I guess. The gentle glow is good for the appearance of my complexion. The soft light is relaxing and bring-yet-not. They are my preference and have been for 30+ years.

Then came technology and screwed the whole thing up. I'm talking about YOU, LED lights. Sure, sure. Good for the planet. Cheaper electricity. Longer lives. Purer light. What. Ev. Er.

Have you seen a "white" LED light? They are BLUE. Clinical, cold, uncaring, unloving, harsh on the complexion blue. They look like frost-bite probably feels. Nothing warm about them.

I'm all for progress and technology. Really. I am (just ask my iTunes collection or my Blackberry or my car or my house with central air). I just don't want the "advancement of technology" to come at the traditional warmth and glow of my holiday season. Time and place. Time and place.

What next? We e-mail Santa? We put up plastic and metal trees? We stop serving hot-buttered toddies? People stop making sweet love at the company Christmas party? Sure. Sure. All those things HAVE already happened (maybe people do still hook up at holiday parties but - come on people - grow up).

That is, in my opinion, all the more reason to leave my white lights alone. Leave 'em simple. Leave 'em warm. Leave 'em traditional. Time and place. Time and place.