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DAY BY DAY: Christmas wishes change after 60

My husband is a big believer in Christmas lists. He's just a big believer period, especially at this time of year. He loves Christmas and harangues the kids every year to get their lists for "Santa." They balk at the idea for good reason. He never likes what they put on them.

The year Cory put a paint gun on his, Kevin felt compelled to sit him down for a lengthy discussion of the whole firearms question. It didn't matter that the ammunition was water soluble and came in neon colors, Kevin saw it as a teachable moment. He was hoping to talk the boy out of the gun and into something more "father friendly" like the complete set of "Leave It to Beaver" episodes.

But Cory was determined and if he had to go to paint ball gun safety classes and wear a wet suit when using his weapon, he would do it.

Katie resists the list even more than Cory but once she does it, I've always found it pretty reasonable. Over the years there have been Breyer horses, a CD player, some jewelry and books, always books. Kevin doesn't share her passion for reading but has generally honored her requests. But this year is different.

Our girl is all grown up these days and is getting her graduate degree in social work. She hopes to work in the court system, especially with families dealing with domestic violence, both victims and perpetrators. So it really isn't any surprise that this year's holiday list includes some pretty serious reading on just that subject.

But Kevin is having a very hard time seeing these very worthy scholastic tomes as Christmas gifts -- educational reading, yes - something special under the tree, no.

The truth is he and I are the worst at making Christmas lists. He is an extremist. Either the things he wants are only affordable after winning the lottery or they are ridiculous. Necco wafers were popular for several years. Anything Peanuts and Snoopy is always welcome and something that is always listed - unlimited access to the children with his video camera - something that hasn't been acceptable since middle school.

I'm no better. I like to buy what I want when I want it or can afford it. My timing has always been off when it comes to Christmas. But it is not all my fault. On the rare occasions when I think I have come up with something pretty good, it never fails. He either argues with me that it really isn't something I want or gets me "something better" that HE knows I will appreciate even more. I refer to the KitchenAid mixer he finally convinced me I needed and wanted and then proceeded to get me, not the one I wanted, but the industrial strength model that could mix concrete but wouldn't fit under my counter.

Or there was the bread maker I NEVER wanted and couldn't be talked into but somehow still ended up under the tree. I made a few of those cinder block shaped loaves before I started using it to store potatoes. It is now in the basement and makes an excellent receptacle for Lindt truffle wrappers when I go on a binge.

But since turning 60 last spring, I find I have all kinds of things for this year's list, none of which Kevin will find acceptable. Some have yet to be invented but they are great ideas. I will be happy if even one of them shows up.

They are:

--Arch supports that fit in shoes other than my tennis shoes. The ones from the doctor are great but they cost a fortune and the only way to get my money's worth is to join the Y staff. But the shoemaker fixed me up with a pair at a fraction of the cost. Next time anything below the knee bothers me, I'm seeing him first.

--Reading glasses for every room in the house, every car in the driveway, every purse in my closet and a pair to lend at every restaurant and store I frequent more than twice a year.

--Bills that sing to me like those obnoxious greeting cards from the bottom of my purse or that pile up on the dining room table when I am about to blow a payment. I think they might actually help.

--Laser hair removal - a deluxe package. Women my age are getting tattoos like crazy. I think my alternative plan will have a much better outcome long term. When their rose tattoos suddenly go long stem, I will be fresh-faced and smooth -- well hairless anyway. And I think I can get a deal on Groupon.

So heads up Santa. They may not be glamorous but these days it is more about quality of life.

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

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