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December 16th, 2008


by Christian McLean

It’s cold, it’s dark, and, like every year at this time, New Yorkers shed their sunny dispositions and brace for the long hard winter ahead. As we transcend from the communal “Oh, look at the leaves,” to the introverted “Leave me alone, I’m freezing,” some New Yorkers were willing to step out of their down-lined shells and share their early holiday wishes.

The Christmas Wish List; the stuff of dreams, a magical piece of paper that details the hopes and aspirations of good (and bad) little boys and girls across the world, was placed into the hands of New Yorkers and Hamptonites–but the wishes were not for themselves. In the true spirit of giving, we hit the streets, polled the public and compiled their list of gifts for the presidential and vice presidential candidates.

(Note: There were no Hanukkah wishes because America hasn’t accepted the idea that a candidate who doesn’t run with Jesus could run the country.)

I’d love to say that in a time of economic chaos and uncertainty there was a lot of Peace on Earth and Joy to the World kind of talk, but many of the wishes were cutting, hard, jaded pokes at the candidates and running mates. What happened to good will towards man and all that mumbo jumbo Tiny Tim is always prattling on about? This is America, the land of hopes and dreams, so how did we end up with such gems like, “A noose for John McCain so he can hang George Bush for destroying his chance to become President”?

As some sort of rite of passage into adulthood, the mystique of Christmas tends to slip into the abyss while standing in the checkout line for an hour just to buy a scarf for the company- enforced Secret Santa grab bag. Throw in the world’s financial turmoil, a couple wars, and a nose-diving housing market and it isn’t too surprising that it wasn’t exactly partridges in pear trees; then again it wasn’t all coal and flaming bags of reindeer poop, either.

Sarah Palin received the brunt of the jabs, but that’s nothing new. Lipstick and pantsuits sat high on the list, as did a telescope for a better view of her neighbors. Personal favorites were a helicopter complete with a guide to the wildlife of Washington DC parks, the Caribou Barbie Dream House (a miniature version of Number One Observatory Circle) so she can play Vice President from Alaska, and a renewed subscription to every newspaper she reads (she reads them all).

Like the average American, gifts fell into several categories, and the one on the top was clothing. While you may be wishing for a cashmere sweater from Calypso for yourself, it seemed that the public wished for something else for the candidates. For Mrs. Palin there was the “World’s Greatest Grandma” T-shirt and a Hooters tank top, while McCain was blessed with the “I’m with stupid (90% of the time)” T-shirt. On the Blue side, someone asked that Obama receive a denim jacket with the American flag on the back of it and there was a wacky tie collection for Joe Biden. Also on the list for Biden was a Bob Uecker baseball jersey “because, hey, they’re like twins.” This winter, a Dickey and a v-neck sweater were tacked onto all their wish lists.

Everyone loves DVDs. They’re always the perfect size and they never need to be washed. So it comes as no shock that a few of those ended up on the candidates’ lists as well. First off, seasons 1-4 of The Office, so Champ is never too far away from his beloved Scranton, PA. As some sort of chronicle of his life Out of Africa, Singapore, Blue Hawaii, Chicago, and Mr. Deeds Goes to Washington were placed on the list for Obama, as was You Bet Your Life and other “Marxist propaganda.” On the Republican side, Manchurian Candidate and Rocky Balboa were picks for McCain, and Palin was offered Bambi, National Lampoon’s Vacation, and Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (though it was suggested she may have that one). The Ultimate Oliver Stone Collection was a must for the lucky president elect. This included the soon-to-be DVD release of W. There was one pop culture reference that was hard to categorize–someone mentioned they would love to stuff John McCain’s stocking with an iPod filled with Phil Collins’s “In the Air Tonight” (I couldn’t figure out if this was an awful or awesome gift). On the positive side, someone suggested that if his Al Smith Dinner performance was any indication, McCain should get 30 minutes of stage time at Caroline’s.

There was also the request for The White House wrapped in a big red bow and ACORNs roasting on an open fire. Someone suggested that John get a little “white coal” (i.e. cocaine) in his stocking because every Republican presidential candidate should try it once. As the cynicism continued, there was a wish for a time machine, the wrong set of drapes, and what he really needed: “a chance in hell.” There was also a Christmas icon: the Red Ryder BB Gun “so he could shoot his eye out, because in the land of the blind, the man with one eye is king.”

Joe Biden, the person with the smallest stocking of all, a man who has been practically overlooked by the pundits and public alike, received the wish that he get some time in the limelight (I don’t know if this article counts).

For Obama there was a new copy of the Koran to be sworn in on, a birth certificate, and “Change.” Dashboard hula dancers and a bobble- head William Ayers also made the list, but as you’d expect in a blue state Barack ended up with more candy canes than coal. “Victory” was a common wish and one secret Santa asked that he receive a great public school in DC for his children (she also requested that Palin receive a membership to the National Organization of Women). Another admirer said, “He has the good sense to surround himself with the best and brightest minds available to him, to help us out of the mess we’re in now.”

Well Nov. 4th has come and gone and the people have spoken. Their wishes for a better future have been made clear. Will the newest Santa to inhabit the White House deliver? We’ll put out cookies and milk, cross our fingers, say a prayer and wish for the best.

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | Community | New York | Politics | the Hamptons





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