Our Christmas wish list changes with our age.

When we are very young we don't want anything other than fed, cuddled and changed. As we get older and more aware, the list begins to grow.

Knowing that by using up our parent's money we are helping the economy, we want the newest, best, most-wonderful toy that every other kid wants. As we get older, toys are replaced by more expensive items and when we are all grown up the list continues, but it shrinks as we age.

We reach an age -- sometime well after middle age -- where our list is smaller but the items are impossible to attain because they are not the things money can buy. I reached that age some time ago.

I wish all children were loved and cherished. I wish for health and healing for those I love and even for some folks that I'm not real fond of. I wish people would be happy and contented. I wish old age was easier. I wish everyone loved their neighbor. I wish for peace on earth.

I'm a realist and I know my wishes aren't going to magically come true but it is pleasant to consider. As the song says about peace on earth, let it begin with me.

My generation may not have had much practice wishing for things. I don't remember much about wanting things for Christmas as a child because there wasn't any television to tell me what I just had to have. The radio commercials were mainly about good, hot Cream of Wheat, warm blankets and shoes. Not the things dreams are made of.

Christmas was not a big celebration at our house when I was a child. We didn't trim a tree or buy gifts for anyone that I can recall. My parents were not much into giving gifts so I didn't think about wanting something or wishing for toys.

Gifts were practical things like scarves, handkerchiefs and socks and I don't recall them being wrapped in colorful Christmas paper.

Of course, I've read the poem about sugar plums dancing in children's heads but I'm not sure I ever had a sugar plum or wanted one. Candy would have been nice but Santa knew that he and I didn't need any candy.

When I had children, I wanted to give them all the magic of Christmas. So we had the biggest tree that would fit in the room and all the trimmings and as many toys as we could afford and made sure it all appeared magically on Christmas morning. I have wonderful memories of their enjoyment of the holiday and memories are a precious gift.

As a young adult I occasionally wished for something and got it -- a Polaroid camera, perfume, a music box and a radio. My husband, Don, suffered from mental paralysis when it came to buying me a gift. He would go to the store in a semi-conscious mental state and when he got tried of standing there he would buy me another radio or another music box.

After I had accumulated enough radios and music boxes for every room in the house, Don and I had a long talk about buying gifts and decided we would not buy each other anything at all. It was wonderfully freeing for both of us. When we needed something, we just went and bought it.

I no longer wish for any material thing but, oh, the things I want -- see list above that begins with "I wish all children were loved and cherished" and ends with peace on earth.

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