Kids get criticized this time of year for being greedy and materialistic. Part of being a kid at Christmas is excitement about presents, but I think adults are to blame for the commercialization of Christmas—kids just pick it up along the way.

Or not. Consider these Christmas wishes reported in a New York Times Magazine article by Patricia Marx:

–Pearl Mutnick, age 11: “I’d like a donation to a charity in my name, one that is especially meaningful to me. I don’t know which charity right now, but I’d go online to find out how much money goes to the cause and how much goes to doughnuts and lounges.”
–Max Lane, age 6: “A sandwich, some Halloween toys, and for Santa to live with me.”
–Paloma Bryant, almost 2: “A cow.”
–Sophie Sonnenfeld, age 3: “For animals to talk to me in English.”
–Dylan Marx, age 9: “One more present than my sister.”

On this coast, the wishes of the children I know seem similarly imaginative and impossible. When I asked one 3 year-old friend what she wanted, she immediately answered, “A unicorn!”

I explained that a unicorn would require moving to a bigger house, and got her a baby doll—her second choice—instead. I think it was a success—she named it Sammy, took off all its clothes, and insisted it accompany us to the grocery. So much fun for just a few dollars.

I hope each of you received what you really wanted for Christmas this year—time with family, time away from family, peace (and quiet) on your little corner of earth, or even a cow.

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