Friday, December 18, 2009


This time of year everyone asks you that question, “what do you want for Christmas?” To which I always feel compelled to either 1) shrug, smile and say “World Peace”, 2) tell them “a good woman, but I already have her” or 3) simply say “nothing.” I’ve never been a big fan of Christmas, only because I know what the true meaning of Christmas is, but most people seem more intent on celebrating it lavishly and superficially. Gone for me are the days of going to both sets of grandparents’ houses and having breakfast at one and brunch at the other, hanging out with the family, and just enjoying everybody’s company. Yeah, I know what you are saying: you just wanted the presents. I was a bit weird in my youth (obviously nothing has changed there). I actually remember scolding my parents for spending too much money on toys for my sister and I, telling them they should have used it to catch up on bills.

These days, despite my short fuse, and my unfortunate tendency to drag my afterwork angst home with me, what I love about the holidays is still hanging out with my wife and family, and watching the cats climb into the Christmas tree, dragging ornaments around and just enjoying their own brand of Yuletide spirit.

And no matter what your religious persuasion – Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Agnostic – December is a strange and beautiful season, a transformation from the blossoming to the transitioning of life-to-death-to-life again (here comes the Wicca in me) that is a time of peace, of hope and of family and friends.

So without getting too New-Age-y on you, instead of what I WANT for Christmas, here’s a few things I would like to SEE (and not necessarily just about wine):

1. A repeal of one of the three taxes on wine and spirits here in the state of Kentucky. The genius thinking that a sales tax on top of the excise tax AND wholesale tax was going to lift the Commonwealth out of its fiscal dilemma failed miserably and drove scores of wine and spirits buyers back to Ohio and Indiana (even though our stores continue to beat Ohio on the majority of wines out there). The cart-before-the-horse theory was a big bust. Now go put your genius hats back on and come up with a better solution.
2. Allowing retailers to deliver and ship via the Internet. It can be done, and there is a large group of folks who would use the service, opening up a new market and an increase in revenue for the state. And it CAN BE DONE without the threat of selling to minors.
3. The end of exclusivities in our state. Maybe it’s just me but my perception of exclusivity in this business means a huge insult to the consumer. In this economy, why would you want to exclude anyone from buying your product?
4. A true spirit of bipartisanship in our nation’s capitol. Amazing that I voted for someone who was suppose to embody that spirit yet the old dogs on both sides of the aisle are doing all they can to make sure that will never happen. A nation divided is easier to manipulate, just ask the last administration. And this isn’t just a rag on Republicans, no no no, you sorry Democrats get some of my piping hot ire too.
5. Personal responsibility. No one seems to want to participate in that. If people took more pride in that and followed it to the letter, perhaps there wouldn’t be the need to debate abortion, health care, the failure of the banking industry, and so on.
6. Better funding for education. We know where this would get us, don’t we? Smarter people means more opportunity for prosperity, less stress on our economic institutions, happier communities, and maybe even, world peace! Can’t have that now can we?
7. An end to world hunger and disease. If we could give the disparate and downtrodden of this world more opportunity for education, feed them, clothe them, keep them healthy and help them fend for themselves, hey, world peace!
8. Hell to freeze over. Because none of this will be possible until the day the Devil and his minions need snowblowers and thermal jock straps.

Believe in yourself. Dare to hope. Give love. Be safe. Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Muharram, Kwanzaa – or whatever you celebrate, and for all you agnostics out there, enjoy the mistletoe.

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