I hate working within a Christmas budget. The things I want to give the people I love are not things I can afford, and, in some cases, are impossible. Christmas is hard on me for this reason.

I want to give the Food Bank enough food to last all year, even with the burgeoning number of impoverished and homeless people around here.

I want to give my friends who have families, or families on the way, houses for their growing families. I want to give them moisture-free basements as playrooms and big, bright spacious nurseries. I want to get them big, sunny backyards for barbecues and kids’ soccer games.

I also want to buy my house and give it to my landlady, so she doesn’t have to contemplate moving from her home, just because the investor who owns the house wants to sell it. The bastard.

I want to buy my dad a wetsuit and scuba lessons and all kinds of diving things, so he can dive here and doesn’t have to go off to Hawaii to dive.

I want to find my brother a tenure-track job at a university where he will be happy, gets on with the department, has a nice house, in a place his girlfriend can also get a tenure-track job. Oh, in a place where there are lots of good vegetarian restaurants.

I want to find a way for E to jam with Jimi Hendrix. Jimmy Page or Jeff Buckley, at a pinch.

I want my aunt to feel less lonely and isolated.

I want my grandmother’s dementia to recede, leaving the vibrant, quirky, independent woman whose spirit was never crushed by being born sixty years too early.

I want Peace on Earth.

I want to feel happier about a season that is supposed to be chock-full of joy.

No dice.

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