By: Mary Fran Bontempo
To hear an audio version of this post, click the play arrow below.

Dear Santa,
I don’t know how you do it.
Here it is, a few weeks before Christmas and I’m already pooped. I have less than 20 people to shop for and I’ve been running around like a maniac frantically searching for everyone’s “perfect” gift for the big day with only marginal success.
Marginal, as the little success I have had is already compromised since everything I’ve bought is subject to review even prior to opening—as when I surreptitiously show my kids a picture of something I’ve gotten them accompanied by my encouraging “Isn’t that cute?” comment only to hear an “Ugghhh. I hate that color/style/material, etc.” And back to the mall I go.
So in the interest of preserving what’s left of my sanity, I thought I’d switch to intangibles to fulfill the rest of my list, which I’m turning over to you. I hope you don’t mind, but the things I’m looking for are also presents for me—frankly, I think I deserve them. You’ll note that nothing has a size, color or style requirement, so that should help, but I’m warning you, this is one challenging list. Feel free to use the abbreviations below when searching for each item. Some of them are legit, most I just made up. Either way, good luck; I hope you’re up to it.
1. P.M.A’s. (Positive Mental Attitudes) For a solid month, I’d like everyone in my family (including me, I know I’m a big offender), to maintain a positive mental attitude about, well, everything. No bitching about work, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, spouses, families, money, the dog, traffic, the laundry that is ALWAYS in the dryer when I want to do a load, the dishes that ARE CONSTANTLY in the sink, the fact that some car is ALWAYS IN THE SHOP…okay, I need to breathe. Like I said, I’m a big offender, but I’m not the only one. A month without hearing or contributing to bitching? Now that’s a present.
2. N.C.D’s. (No Crying Days—This piggybacks on the P.M.A’s.) I have two daughters living at home. There’s also me, and a female dog. There’s a lot of crying in my house. If there were ever a water shortage, we could bridge the gap—with a desalination plant. I’d like to be able to select several days at will to be designated “No Crying Days.” That’s no crying, for any reason, by anyone in the house. Including me. Or maybe especially me. That’s no crying over work, or boys, or money, or anything on the list above, under item number 1. On second thought, I should be able to cry whenever I want and everyone else should have to refrain. It’s probably my turn to let loose for a while, anyway.
3.  E.M.T.G.A. (Enough Money To Go Around) I guess this one’s not really an intangible, but sometimes it feels like it is. I don’t know what it’s like for you having to feed and house all those reindeer and elves up at the North Pole, but down here, it feels like there’s always more month than money to go around. The aforementioned car always in the shop is a big culprit, but then there’s the leak in the shower, the outrageous heating bill (despite 60 degree days in December), computers, phones, etc., always in need of fixing or replacing—you get the idea. Just once, I’d like to get to the end of a month and be able to say, “Woo-hoo! Five bucks left over! Let’s go split a frozen yogurt!” Or something like that.
4. H.M.D’s. (Happy Mirror Days) Okay, Santa, this one’s especially for me. I’d like at least three days every month when I don’t turn away in shock and horror over what greets me in the mirror. Three days out of 30 when I’m absolutely delighted by what looks back at me. I don’t want to see the wrinkles—especially that linear crater between my eyes—the sags, bags, lumps, bumps or anything else that would make me want to climb back into bed and pull the covers up over my head. In fact, what I want to see is Jennifer Anniston. That’s not too much to ask, is it?
I could go on, but I don’t want to be greedy. I know you’ve got your work cut out for you, but if anyone can pull this off, you can. Plus, look at it this way: None of my requests will take up any room in your giant sack of stuff, except maybe the money, of course, but paper’s light.
I have every confidence in you, Santa, and I can’t wait until Christmas morning. And if there are other ladies on your list who might be in need of a gift, feel free to choose one of my suggestions. I’m pretty sure every woman I know would be happy with any one of them.
Mary Fran
What’s on your Christmas list this year? Click “comments” below and share!