My Christmas Wish List

Let me just say this right up front. This is my fantasy list. My if-all-my-dreams-could-come-true list. I’m a realist but it’s sure fun to dream.

What the heck, let’s take a trip down fantasy lane. Why not?

1. A pair of jeans that not only fit but last - Is this asking too much? How hard can it be to find a pair of jeans that actually fit my middle-aged body? No low riders. No skinny jeans. But no boring shapeless jeans, either. The last pair I bought, and it wasn’t all that long ago, the jeans I considered my good jeans? Imagine my surprise about a week ago when I took them off and discovered they had split up the backside. I’m not kidding. And I haven’t gained but a couple of pounds. It is clearly a flaw in the denim and I was not happy. The other day I bought a replacement pair of jeans on sale, brought them home and noticed they smell musty, like they were packed away in a box. Musty. I’ve now washed them 4 times. Better, but still a bit musty.

2. A pair of shoes that fit correctly – Sadly, the feet and ears keep on a-growing as we age. My right foot, especially, seems to be growing by leaps and bounds. Consequently, I have only one pair of shoes that fit correctly. I’m tired of limping around in shoes that cramp my feet.

3.  A new camera – Cue harp music. Yes, I’ve been talking about this for a while now. I love, love photography and want to take it to the next level but every time I think I might be heading toward saving up enough money to buy a new camera, some gosh-darned thing goes wrong with the house, or the car, or an unexpected bill arrives on our doorstep. My current camera, a Canon bridge camera, is lovely. But it doesn’t have separate lenses. And that’s what I want.


4. A vintage gas stove – Oh, how I want one. Preferably an O’Keefe & Merritt, like this one in Kitty Bartholomew’s kitchen from Country Living:

This is my all-time favorite. But I wouldn’t turn up my nose at this vintage Chambers model:

Also courtesy of Country Living. I love the generous work surfaces, the storage, the grills, all the extras that used to be considered essentials. Now, of course, they are not included in your average stove. And do I have to say that what I love the most is the vintage look? I thought not.

5. One of these Pure Butter or Cheese slabs – I have long been lusting after one of these but even the reproductions are expensive. Wouldn’t this look great on my kitchen island? This one is a reproduction carried by Joanne Hudson Basics. They also carry another favorite of mine, Emma Bridgewater pottery.

6. A new sofa – The one in the den is on its last legs. The loveseat in the living room is even older. Yikes. I’d prefer an English Roll Arm Sofa, like this one in linen from Restoration Hardware, but as you might expect the price is off the charts. And I’d rather it have a tight back. Loose cushions end up being a pain in the (fill in the blank.) At this point, I’d take one from IKEA. But, we are dreaming here, so let’s go for the Restoration Hardware model, in something more suitable for our household. Durability is the key here.

7. A pair of boots – Fun boots, maybe cowboy boots? Something stylish. Just because.

8. A second car – No explanation necessary. We need one.

9. Some built-in bookcases in the den – I have books, books and more books. I have long dreamt of built-in bookcases in our den. But I would have to hire someone to do it. Not that I’m not game to try it, I am. But we have baseboard heating and I don’t quite know how to construct them and allow for the baseboards. I would love nothing more than to have my books down here in the den. Out of the shed. Into the den. Out of my overstuffed IKEA Expedit shelves in the bedroom. Into the den.

10. Lots of coaching jobs in the new year - I need the work. We need the money. And I’m really good at what I do.

11. A trip to England and Paris with my husband - I’ve been to England 3 times. Don has never been there. I’ve never been to France. Don was there once, and came down with appendicitis. We’d like to go together on an extended adventure.

12.  A mudroom/laundry room – Just a petite extension off of the kitchen, with a new door to the outside, a full-size washer and dryer and a tile floor. Also, hooks to hang coats on, shelves for storage, baskets for mittens and scarves and boot trays somewhere other than the kitchen. Oh and if I’m dreaming here? Add a shower with a long sprayer so that I can bathe Scout at home. Easy clean up from things like the squirrel adventure last Sunday.

13.  Books – These books sound like they are right up my alley:

Authors share their favorite bookstores, past and present. Found here.

And this one, in the same vein:

Leading cultural figures share the books that have mattered the most in their lives. Found here.

14. Paying off our mortgage via the lottery or a mysterious benefactor or a great film role for Don – This is my crazy, out-of-the-park dream.  I want to stay here. But it’s really tough for us. We might not be able to. So, dear Universe: I’m putting it out there. I’m visualizing a check for the exact amount of money we owe on this house. I’m not going to try to figure out the how. I’ll let you take care of that. I’m just going to keep visualizing.

This is rather a fun exercise, making a list of practical and seemingly impractical things you need or just plain want. What would you put on your list?

Happy Wednesday.

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  1. says

    Great list, great idea to make such a list. Love that vintage-y stove, it would look fabulous in your kitchen. Regarding bookcases atop baseboard heat, I had the same situation in our last house. I hired someone to build bookcases – he put them on two front “legs” with an attractive curved board (does that make sense?) between the two legs (at bottom of the bookcase itself. It worked wonderfully. Meanwhile, may all your dreams come true, especially paying off the house. Mary

    • Claudia says

      That’s sort of what I was thinking of, Mary – adding a leg. But I don’t know how to do it. I’d have to lean on someone else’s expertise.

  2. says

    I loved reading your list – very interesting. I recently saw 2 different book storage ideas, but I don’t know if they’d work for you. Book shelves installed above the windows and going around the top of the room OR an old dresser, with the drawers removed and books placed where the drawers used to be. Just an idea…

    I want to go to Italy and Spain. Totally beyond our current budget, even in the near future, but someday.

  3. says

    I LOVE your wish list, sweetpea, love it. I’d wish for my family to be closer to us since we’re in our later years, but that won’t happen. That’s about it for me. I’m truly a simple gal. A paid off mortgage would be nice but ours is low and manageable. I’m pretty easy when it comes to wants though.

    You’re so right about shoes not fitting anymore. Both feet have gotten a fraction bigger but I think that comes with age. I pretty much go around in my Nike shoes now, especially for the support they lend the feet! But growing old hasn’t bothered me one bit; it’s given me 2 great granddaughters that are my joy in life.


    • Claudia says

      The feet thing drives me buggy. My Nikes were just fine until recently. Ah well. I wish my family was closer, too. After years and years of being far away from my family, I guess I’m just used to it now.

  4. says

    I can help with good fitting jeans! I carried a popular line in my store called NYDJ ~ Not Your Daughters Jeans. They fit up on the waist, have a little spandex for stretch (no saggy bum) always wash back to their original fit, and will last a couple of years. Get the boot cut in a dark wash, and get them one size smaller than normal. You can find them at Nordstom Rack.

    Was personal stylist on your list? (**/

    • Claudia says

      I think I tried this brand on once, when I was working in CA. I’ll have to see if there’s a Nordstrom Rack near me. The nearest might be in Manhattan.

    • says

      You think they’d be at Nordstroms? I don’t have a Rack near although I could make the trek. I managed to wear out last year’s pair of jeans, bought a new pair about 3 months ago and within a couple of weeks, they had torn in the back where the pockets were stitched on … then they tore at the waistband. They’re now unwearable. *sigh*

  5. Lori says

    what fun! I was trying to come up with MY ultimate wish list and was able to come up with a few things…
    #1: A new WHITE Kitchen-aid Dishwasher. Ours is black and old and from some company I’ve never heard of. It’s the only remaining black appliance in a freshly painted, decorated kitchen. I’m hoping to replace it this spring with something white (is that boring? yes!!)
    #2: More time spent baking, sewing, knitting, crocheting instead of spending far too much time on my laptop. (sounds possible, and it’s FREE!)
    #3: A new kitty. This wish will most likely NEVER be granted as we now have two pugs, Louie and Lola. We swore off cats several years ago (one should never swear off anything!)

    That’s about it. My jeans are boring and I’m sure classify as “mom jeans” I buy them from LLBean, who could be more practical and (yawn) boring? but they’re comfy and built to last…haha!
    Have a wonderful day, I hope 2013 brings at least a few of those items on your list!

      • Claudia says

        It’s more than a dish, Lori. It’s quite large and a reproduction of the slabs that were used on English store counters. I’ve seen them in several kitchens in blogland. The cheese slab is round. I’ve also seen large glass cloches used with them.

  6. says

    Claudia, it’s so neat to see what others would love and what’s on their wish list. Love the butter dish but a hundred and forty dollars? Well maybe you could get it and the rest of your list if you won the lottery……wouldn’t that be so awesome if you could call your boss and say,”sorry I can’t work today I’m calling in rich”!
    We can only dream, sigh…….but it’s good for the heart and soul to have dreams. I hope that you have all of yours come true!!!!

  7. says

    Wish lists…what fun! An Aga stove goes on mine! I have wanted one since my first Miss Marple book. I am eyeing my son’s downstairs bedroom (next to my library) in hopes that he will move out soon and I can turn it into a studio/craft room. I currently have my sewing machine in my daughter’s room, my needlework designs on my computer in another room, my sewing supplies stufffed into my linen closet….(you get the idea). And finally, like you, I need to win the lottery (can we both win and split the check?!) so we can pay off our mortgage, otherwise we are going to have to sell the house when we retire. It’s too expensive for a retirement budget unless it’s paid off. Sigh. Here’s to hoping some parts of our lists come true in 2013! xxoo Martha

    • Claudia says

      Love Agas, Martha! I have one in my dollhouse! I’m perfectly open to splitting the lottery check!

  8. says

    My computer just went down after I wrote my post! Let’s see if I can replicate it…

    I really like your choices, Claudia, and I would also like our debts paid off. Additionally, I want a full return to good health and a return of my energy level. That would be wonderful!

    I’d like to see more of family and friends who live away.

    I’d like to go to England, too, both to see friends and to take a genealogy tour of the churches affiliated with various branches of the family. I have a number of colonial ancestors who were clergy both in Virginia and New England, and I would like to see some of the places connected to them. And there are others who had fathers who were clergy in England, and I would like to tour those churches as well. I love archicteture, and church architecture is some of my favorite.

    Love the butter plate. I’ve had my eye on that same piece for years. Someday! :-)

    And I got a wonderful book for Christmas. It’s from England and is called DAUGHTER OF EMPIRE by Pamela Hicks. Yes, I know. How do I know that? Well, I accidentally opened it thinking it was a book I had ordered for my godson. Oops! ;-) Books = a good thing.

    And I have jeans that fit. I buy Gloria Vanderbilt jeans at Beall’s in Florida. They have give, and they hold up well. I buy the black ones. They will shrink, so wash in cold and hang to dry. But I have really enjoyed them. I have shoes that fit, but I had to go up a size. One foot is slightly larger than the other. That’s strange how that goes, isn’t it?

    The main thing on my list is for everyone I know to live well and prosper. Did I just steal that from “Stark Trek”??? I still want that for all I love including you and Don and us!



  9. Judy says

    Claudia, ever since turned 60 I have been feeling like I shouldn’t have anything new (Like a stove or new mudroom)
    because I’m too old to start anything new and expensive. Here you go along like it’s just another day,week, year. wishing for things to enrich your life. You have given me HOPE, Claudia Mockingbird Hill !! Thank-You! I Love Your blog! As Always my first click in the morning! (Don’t care how many explanation points I use for this comment.) – Judy A-

  10. says

    What a fun post. I think all of your items are very reasonable requests (wink). I wish I could get you all of these things….esp. paying off your morgage. I know that you are younger than I, but it seems like all of my friends that are approaching retirement, are struggling. My hubby lost most of his retirement because of Enron. He actually worked for them. Since all of my jobs have been part time in the child care business…..I have none. BUT, even though our house is old and needs alot of TLC it will be paid for in about 3 years. That will be our saving grace. We’d like something smaller and more managable but will stay here forever if we have to.
    So I am wishing that all your dreams come true.

    • Claudia says

      I’m so glad your house will be paid off. My former landlady, a lovely person, worked for Enron, too. And she had to sell her house because of it!

      • says

        I can understand. We have struggled ever since it all happened….but managed to hang on to our house. We did have to sell our oottage, boat, and car. I miss that little cottage so much. It was teeny tiny but adorable.

  11. says

    Claudia, the first step is putting it out there, you just never know, I wish that all of your dreams do come true. I am keeping my fingers crossed for you…it would be wonderful to hear that they have.


    • Claudia says

      Wouldn’t it be great to see a post on this blog saying that they all had come true? But truly, if the mortgage got paid off, I’d give up all the other wishes!

  12. says

    Although I know you are dead straight about some of these wishes, it’s a fun post and perfectly alright to wish! Having a room with built in book shelves would be great…I have mountains of them and sagging shelves in every room. I’d love that stove, too, but I’d need a larger kitchen, thus a larger house! I feel like I have been really lucky in life, sometimes I have thought that the axe would have to fall at some point. When I do wish for things, they aren’t really tangible things…more along the lines of…I wish I had more courage to do this or that, I wish I had done this or that in the past…you know what I mean? But, I think it’s high time to start dreaming about the perks in life that would make it easier and thrill me. I’ll get to work.

    May all your wishes come true!


  13. Donnamae says

    Great wish list…I’m right there with you on the jeans! Just keep the dream alive…there IS something to putting it out to the universe! Hoping the coaching for you, and acting for Don will come true! ;)

  14. says

    I’m in for the camera but would be happy to take your old one. A stove with no digital crap is right up there, too! I’ll second your wish for a great film role for Don. My cinematic art director SIL just took a job at a restaurant last week to make ends meet. He was kind of embarrassed but not willing to go in the hole, financially, during the dry spell.

  15. says

    I would definitely have “paying off our house” on my list too! And I also would love a new camera! I really want to get into photography. I would probably also add a Silhouette Cameo machine to make pretty things! And I would also wish for something that my husband wants, he deserves it! =]

  16. Annette Tracy says

    I think in this day and age when so many of us are fighting lost jobs, houses, just scrambling to keep food on the table and the bill collectors at bay, along with sickness in families and the insurance craziness, it is very important for us mentally to be able to “dream” and make wish lists! It saddens me so to know many of my friends are struggling, like Debbie Messner’s story, but these “wish lists” help us to hang on during very difficult times. So like Jen says, we must put it out there for the Universe.

    On a funny note: My wish list today includes being able to open my Whirlpool oven door that locked up after using the self cleaning unit! Even my repair guy can’t get it open! I’ve been w/out for about a mth now. And the repair guy is even calling his other repair friends to find a tool to get into the thing! They are all so swamped they can’t even get to you right away. I mean winter has finally come to So Cal and we are wanting meat loaf and baked potatoes! My wish is that Santa could bring every one of you one of your “wishes”…

    • Claudia says

      Oh no! What a problem! I hope they finally figure out how to fix it. I forgot to add a ‘dishwasher that works’ to my list. Our dishwasher hasn’t worked right since we moved in. I’m so used to it now that I hardly think about it. But I sure would love having one.

  17. says

    The camera has been on my wish list for quite awhile, but like you, something always seems to come up. I did get a new smart phone a couple of days ago and the camera takes better photos than my old point and shoot so at least it is a step in the right direction. A pair of shoes that fit well would definitely be on my list and like you I am self employed and times are hard so I would definitely like some new streams of income. I believe in manifesting. I just put it out there and wait for it to happen. I don’t know where it will come from, but it often happens.


  18. says

    Who doesn’t love wish lists? Who doesn’t dream about what they’ll do if they win Power Ball? (I do, and I don’t even buy tickets!) But your list sounds sensible, worthwhile. For my wish list? We really need a truck and central heat and air, but what I want is another week in a big house on Cape San Blas that will hold all my children and grandchildren and all our dogs! With no arguments or hurt feelings the whole week!

  19. Nancy says

    Great list! I hope that some of those wishes become reality.
    One of the best investments we have made, is to purchase two vintage, 1920-1930’s sofa’s. I figured that if they are still in good shape now, they are built to last! One has down seat cushions, and a solid, padded back. It has carved wood trim and is beautiful. I’m sure it was once in someone’s parlor, because it was covered in pale aqua silk. We used it that way for several years, and then decided it needed to be more casual, so I found some, great, upholstery fabric on sale for an amazingly low price, and found a man to recover the sofa and cushions. The fabric is a blue and off white chedk, with a muted pattern running through it, which makes it look much more casual, and fits in our family room with a garage sale 1930’s sofa, with carved wood trim. The other sofa was more Victorian, and beautiful, and each cost about $300.00 to purchase. Nothing better than sitting on down! Look for auctions!

  20. Patti says

    I love that you have dreams and that maybe if you “put it out there in the universe” it just might happen! I am right there with you about the mortage thing. Our retirement will be before we know it and the house will not be paid off. Trying to not dwell on it but I love my house and we may not get to stay in it in our retirement years. Just in the last couple of years I loved to go antiquing and garage saling but now I think, “do i really need that’….now I try to save every penny that I don’t have to spend. My wish list this year is just a peaceful Christmas and spending time with my family.~xo, Patti

  21. says

    Claudia, I relate to all these things… feet, jeans (and I’ve put on real weight!), the books, the furniture. My wish for my self is that I would love to have a day without worry – mostly self-imposed. BTW my DIL is in casting here in LA, I would be happy to pass on Don’s head shots/resume/whatever. She casts people from all over – you never know! Ann

  22. says

    I love your list, Claudia- I will pray for your house to be paid off. I think there are unexplained miracles all the time…and you only need ONE miracle there. I guess my wish would be for continued health for everyone in our family- for my hubby to remain cancer free and for all our children/grands to stay healthy, too- xo Diana

  23. says

    My only wish is that my daughter would move back to Oregon.. but her husband convinced her that Ohio is much better than Oregon so I don’t think they’ll ever return. Seeing my granddaughters only once a year or two breaks my heart. But.. I hope you get some of your wishes.
    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  24. says

    Hi Claudia

    I know exactly what you mean about the jeans…but I did find a pair that I love by Lee. They fit great and have some spandex so they don’t pinch or bind. They are called “perfect fit” and they really do – no gap in the waist and they come up high enough on your waist,

    May your wishes come true!

  25. says

    You know, that’s funny you ask…I always say I don’t want anything, but I guess that’s not true. When it really boils down to it, if I took the time to sit here and daydream about what I’d really, really want – if money were no object – I’m sure I could come up with quite a list. I liked reading yours! I can definitely relate to the mudroom. There’s only two ways we come in the house – either through the attached garage which goes straight into the kitchen; or the front door where you step right into the living room. There are no transition places in either entrance. So there’s nowhere to take off messy shoes or snowy boots, no coat hooks, etc. – except right where you step inside the house on a small rug.

  26. says


    I truly believe the universe hears the desires of our hearts. All of the items on your wish list….are doable. The key…..we have to trust and believe that the desires of our heart are heard and not sabotage it with negative thoughts and beliefs. The jeans…..I can definitely relate. OMG! I hope my feet aren’t growing at different times….haven’t experienced this one yet! Photography, love it! So excited that I got a new portrait lens. I bought my camera on payments 1-1/2 years ago and paid it off in a year (it’s the only way I could have afforded it) Got the Canon 60D and love it!

  27. Betsy says

    Lee perfect fit jeans are the best. They come in short, regular and tall,are reasonably priced and last forever! I love Merrells, they are more comfy than other shoe. Wishing you all the best, you have love and that is the ultimate.

  28. Nola says

    I love it that you dare to dream AND that you share your dreams with us! Looks like you’ve inspired a lot of us to dream too, judging from the comments (which I love reading, too). You are 100% correct about the sofas with loose back cushions! I’ll do without before I buy another sofa like that.
    Claudia, go on eBay or to a local resale shop and get yourself a GOOD pair of cowboy boots! You will never regret it! Make sure they are a quality brand and real leather. Maybe go try on new ones to see what type of heel and toe you like, then buy “previously enjoyed” elsewhere. You save a bundle and with cowboy boots, any wear on them just gives them character!
    May you be blessed with all you wish for and more!

  29. Patricia says

    A new sofa is on my list too! Like your mudroom, my house addition would be an all season sun room in place of our deck, with a new deck beyond it. And having the house paid off is definitely on the list! Otherwise, I’d have to work til I was 88! None of these items are likely for us, as we’re so super-frugal, but if we’re asking the Universe, why not ask and keep asking and visualizing it! I’m with you, Claudia.

  30. Deb says

    Love the list! I see someone left a recommendation on NYDJ (not your daughters jeans). I’ll second that. I learned of these “highly recommended” jeans several years ago – but did not want to pay the price which was way higher than I had ever paid for jeans. Then, just a couple of months later, I saw them at Costco for around $67 (which was still more than I had ever paid for jeans) – but I went ahead and bought. By far, far, far – the best jeans ever. I agree with the previous commenter….dark wash/boot cut and go down one size. Always wash inside out and hang dry. I’m still wearing those jeans from a couple of years ago – and they still hold their shape and look great despite me gaining a few pounds. I love thee jeans so much I did get another dressier pair at Nordstroms during their half yearly sale and then another pair of skinnies at Nordstrom Rack back in August. I found the selection at Nordstrom Rack was a little limited. You can always order from Nordstrom online with free shipping/free returns too. The jeans are pricier initially – but the cost per wear over the years makes it overall the best deal. AND THEY ARE SO COMFORTABLE! And if you get any good recommendations on shoes, please pass on!

  31. Barb R. says

    I do not have a blog but enjoy reading so many of the ones our there in blog land. When I read about shoes in this blog, I just had to write and tell you that I have fallen in love with SAS shoes. Unfortunately they tend to be a bit pricey but they last forever, and give excellent support. I have arthritis in my feet (elsewhere too) and major back issues and I have found this brand to be the ONLY one that works for me. They even have shoes that you can take out the insole and insert your orhodic if you need to. AND the really good part is that they are made here in the USA in San Antonio Texas. I have found the stores in the Premium Outlets in the Pennsylvania area but you could check them out on line

  32. says

    Let me tell you, #7 – My husband bought me red cowgirl boots for a birthday a few years ago, and I can’t stop wearing them!!!!! It’s instant attitude when I put them on. They are MAGIC. Everyone – and I mean EVERYONE loves them. Young, old, male, female – LOVE.

    Get them yourself if Santa doesn’t bring them.

  33. angeljoy says

    1: Jeans: have you tried soaking them in a mixture of water and vinegar? Or perhaps throw some baking soda in the wash? That could help with the mustiness.
    2: Shoes: I stand on my feet a lot and have found Alegria to be very comfortable. I call them my Funky Orthopedic Shoes. They are not orthopedic, but they have very good support and come in a variety of styles and fun patterns. I buy them on clearance at alegriashoeshop(dot)com.
    Found your blog when doing a search on Kitty Bartholomew. I agree wholeheartedly with that post.
    Will bookmark your blog and be back soo!

  34. says

    My list would include a new furnace, a small car (insurance, repairs and gas paid for in perpetuity), and a house for one of my family members and their chidren so they can have much yearned for space. Oh, and a magical pair of walking shoes that won’t wear out. The end. xx


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