... for Christmas is my hair back.

No, not really. I like my hair at the stage it is, short enough to feel good when I rub my hands on my head, but not long enough to require any work when I get out of the shower.

There are a number of things I want for Christmas, ranging from simple to complex, cheap to expensive and plausible to impossible.

First, I want PEACE ON EARTH. And not the trite, contrived, ritualized garbage that so many Hollywood-ites scream for when they have so much money they can't think of anything that they haven't bought already, and so they ask for "peace on earth."

I want neighbors to get along.

I want people to share the road with joy.

I want people to smile at others when they stand in line at the post office for an hour while waiting for the postmaster to get a clue and schedule extra shifts during prime hours so that one lone soul doesn't have to serve a gazillion people by themselves.

Maybe what I really want is peace in my heart so I'm not so angry at the postmaster for being a Scrooge.

I want the United States to take care of all the problems facing Americans before reaching out into the world and trying to fix their problems.

I'm not saying we shouldn't help others. I'm just saying take care of America first and we'll be better able to take care of the rest of the world.

Second, I'd like for house prices to come down enough that I can afford to purchase a home in the area.

I want a home where, if my children decide to leave Picasso-stylized dogs in permanent marker on the wall, it doesn't matter to anyone but my wife and me.

I want a yard that isn't decorated in rock andndash; or if it is, it's because I was an idiot and made the choice and not some clueless homeowner.

What is it about Brookings and desert-style landscaping? All of the places we've lived since we moved here have either had rock in the yard or have had landscaping that didn't make any sense.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder I guess. As long as the beauty doesn't cause my kids to lose an eye when they trip over a boulder and face-plant in some roses.

Third, I want my kids to learn that giving is more important than receiving.

Every year around Christmas, we take all of the toys that the kids have accumulated over the past 11 months, put them in a pile and try to figure out which the kids would like to donate to local charities.

I try to explain to my kids that, with Christmas just around the corner, they'll probably get more toys and that there are kids in the community who won't get any toys if we don't help by giving the toys the kids don't play with.

I think it's one of those things that is hard for them while they are doing it, but they will come to understand the feeling that giving is more important than receiving.

I don't care if it takes them 20 years or more to grasp it, as long as we planted the seed and they get it, I'll be happy.

Fourth, I want an iPad. I'm kind of a technophiliac. I drool after new technology, but I've learned to curb my desire to buy big-ticket items until I can actually afford them.

I think an iPad would help me better perform my duties as a reporter andndash; wink, wink.

Actually, I have everything I need. A beautiful wife, four healthy kids, a body that keeps on shrinking and hair that will grow back.