Holiday wishes range from easier-to-open packages to warmer spirit

The hardest thing to open may be a closed mind, but a half-gallon of orange juice from Whole Foods is a close second. This Christmas Eve, at the top of my wish list is an antidote for “wrap rage,” the increasingly familiar phenomenon of heightened levels of anger and frustration resulting from the inability to open packaging. Clamshells are for clams! Nobody should need a weapon to open a Christmas present or their anti-anxiety medicine.

I want tailgating to be a crime punishable by death, or at least several years in the slammer. Barreling down on drivers minding their own business on the highway and hovering menacingly inches from their rear bumper is an act of aggression – an assault – plus it’s dangerous and incredibly annoying. Coal for tailgaters, at least.

Who decided that a little sticker on every piece of fruit is a good idea? I want that person tarred and stickered. Oh, the sticker and the glue used are edible? No thanks. Take your PLU number and stick it.

I want Sean Hannity to decide once and for all where he parts his hair – and if it’s in the middle, he should be fired. In fact, all men who part their hair in the middle should be deported. Curtains are for windows. Real men part their hair on a side. Pick a side, Hannity!

Mustard is a condiment, not a color. For Christmas, I want millennials to stop talking about “mustard-colored” this and “mustard-colored” that. OK – technically – mustard is a plant from which seeds are harvested, crushed and mixed with a liquid (“must”) to make a condiment – but still. That bright shade of yellow in the bottle of French’s or decorating that cute skirt? It’s turmeric.

What good are remote controls? Why so many cryptic buttons? With the proliferation of smartphones and smart TVs and techy smart alecks, we shouldn’t have to endure the exasperation of this ubiquitous electronic device, if we’re good.

Shoe sizes in America should not be subjective, Santa. A size 9 should be a size 9 whether you wear Nike or Adidas, plain and simple. Left to the fancy of footwear companies, however, size 5 fluctuates, and that’s annoying. Imagine if lumber companies had their own unique ways of measuring floorboards.

Brick sidewalks? Why not black ice? Clearly, men with flat-soled shoes came up with the bright idea of a surface designed to ensnare even the most sensible heel. And see those big trees? They have roots that cause the sidewalk to buckle and the bricks to become even more hazardous. This year I want Santa to bring some common sense to urban design that accommodates 51 percent of the population.

To hear and be heard would be nice. When did everyone become deaf? And I’m not just talking about hearing, although about 38 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss, a number that will nearly double by 2060, according to a study released by Johns Hopkins University earlier this year. It’s ridiculous that there are few solutions, which are outrageously expensive, and a sin that most insurers and Medicare do not cover the expense of hearing aids but do cover Viagra. I wish that we the people would speak up!

I want to understand more about how birds fly than what celebrities tweet, and read more books and fewer blogs. I want more time and attention focused on people I love rather than people I dislike.

Really, what I want most, though, is the longing and loneliness felt by so many people this time of year to subside and for them to find comfort in the promise of a new year and longer, brighter days. I want the mania of the crazy commercial Christmas season to pass and the feelings of inadequacy to subside. I want the clutter of Christmas to be gone. I want to clear enough space in the world so that the true spirit of Christmas can enter.

Merry Christmas.

As published in the Portland Press Herald