I haven't compiled a Christmas list since I was a little kid, so writing this was a lot of fun. It’s much easier to create a wish list as a kid because kids want everything and they don’t know what’s possible. So why not wish for more snow days or x-ray vision. It doesn't hurt to ask. As I recall, my lists were generally filled with toys and I usually got most of what I wanted, like a 5-speed Schwin bike, a toy helicopter, maybe a street hockey stick. We played a lot of street hockey when I was a kid in New England. We all wanted to be Bobby Orr. Unfortunately, talent for hockey is a gift I never got.
This year I thought it would be fun to compile an updated list. One that's more appropriate for a, let's say middle-aged, guy like me.
• An opportunity to see more of this great country. I've been blessed to be able to visit a lot of places that most Americans would consider highlights: the Grand Canyon, the Tetons, the Rocky Mountains, LA, New York, New Orleans, Graceland, the rocky coast of Maine and more. Now I'm interested in seeing smaller towns, coastal islands, and other places off the well-worn tourist path. Places that leave an indelible mark on your memory.
• That I find the exact right balance in my life between all the things that are important — faith, work, family, friends, volunteering. All are important to me and I can't imagine life without one of them, but when the proportions get out of whack it just doesn’t feel right. Even if I manage to get it just right, it always seems to slip over time. I'll keep working on it.
• High standards. We tend hold ourselves to a very high standard for creativity and quality. One of the hallmarks of our agency is the amount of attention we pay to very small details. That degree of attention, however, is the difference between good and great creative work. To be honest, my colleagues here are better at the details than I am. I hope that we, as a group, never let those high standards slip.
• Fun and interesting clients. Life is too short to toil away the days in drudgery. When the subject matter is interesting and the client values creativity, it makes it easier to fire on all cylinders. Thankfully, we have a roster of wonderful clients in tourism and foodservice. We also treasure our longstanding relationships with great clients in higher education, non-profit, professional services and more.
• A few more tourism clients. We've had much fun and success in this industry and want to see it continue and grow. Not only do we enjoy doing destination marketing for communities or counties, we also like to help brand and promote trails. At the very top of the list would be a culinary trail followed closely by any sort of outdoor recreation trail like a blueway for canoeing and kayaking. Don't forget wine trails, golf trails, history/heritage trails. The sky is the limit.
• Vail Resorts as a client. OK, that may be a bit much to ask, but any client in the ski industry would be fun — a small resort or an equipment manufacturer, for instance. I'd almost be willing to work for lift tickets. Almost.
• Good health and happiness for my co-workers and that they derive some personal and professional satisfaction from doing their jobs well.
• The gift of generosity. I'm not talking about someone being generous to you. My wish for everyone reading this is that you give generously of yourself to others. It doesn't have to be a lot. It doesn't even have to cost a nickel. Give your time or talents to a worthy group or individual. It's a gift that you can give yourself and it's the perfect way to celebrate the season.
• Make some special memories of Christmas 2010 that you, your family and friends will never, ever forget. Do something unique. Act like a kid again. Go out into the yard and make snow angels with the kids (or grandkids). Prepare a dish you've never attempted before. Don't worry if it doesn't turn out perfect. You'll get a chuckle out of it and do better next time. Start a new tradition.
• Peace and prosperity