The duty of passing out special presents for the holiday season usually falls to me, for reasons other than girth. But playing the Santa role always has come naturally.
I'll never forget my first time wearing the red suit and saying, "Ho ho ho" to an audience — in the Brookwood School Christmas play ... as a rotund third-grader. Then came a late-1970s church party where, making the grand entrance in full regalia, I was pulling it off until my older son (a precocious 4-year-old at the time) raced up, stared in disbelief and said, "Hi, Dad."
Anyway, no disguises here. Just a bag of gifts to distribute to...
Mayor Steve Bach: Probably too much to ask for his goal of 6,000 more employed area residents, given the economic uncertainty. So we'll assume 3,000 would be acceptable. Also, an iPad programmed with everything he's said as mayor (such as wanting a baseball stadium downtown), so he can check it before claiming he never said something.
U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn: A front-row seat for President Obama's next State of the Union, and a year without putting either foot in his mouth.
USA Pro Challenge organizers: Another chance to show off Colorado Springs in the world cycling arena, perhaps this time with a stage taking a scenic route around the Broadmoor.
El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa: The energy and backing to take his political career to another level after he steps aside in 2014.
Pam Shockley-Zalabak, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs chancellor: Continued momentum toward making UCCS the shining star of CU's entire system.
The Gazette: More staff, more space, more resources to produce better journalism. And more editorials supportive of the local community.
Colorado's Democrats now controlling the Legislature: The gumption to implement retail sales of marijuana and legalize civil unions, but the restraint to avoid abusing their majority power.
State Rep. Amy Stephens: Proper recognition in her final term for having pushed through Colorado's health-care exchange legislation despite opposition from many fellow Republicans, since the state will benefit from it now.
Lt. Gen. Mike Gould, Air Force Academy superintendent: Permission to stay one more year before retiring, if he wants it (there is precedent), to see through some projects and priorities that he has pushed during his tenure.
All those Texas drilling companies: Either huge success to justify your efforts here, or total failure so you can move on to possibilities elsewhere.
Colorado's Republicans: Candidates (maybe from this region) with fresh ideas, perspectives and charisma to run for statewide offices in 2014.
Lisa Lyden, well-rested former Channel 5 anchor: Another job in the local market (we miss you, Lisa) as soon as that non-compete clause expires.
Mark Earle, aviation director of Colorado Springs Airport: Success for Frontier Airlines' added service here, and perhaps a nonstop to New York.
Paula Miller, Pikes Peak Library District executive director: More chances to broaden PPLD's scope, already in the works with developing that huge Chapel Hills location and uniting with the Manitou Springs library.
Joe Raso, Regional Business Alliance CEO: A good-enough, and fast-enough, fiscal-cliff deal, helping maintain stability for the area's many defense contractors and giving the restructured organization a better chance at recultivating its image. And a role in Colorado Springs hopefully being able to market itself as America's Olympic City.
Local nonprofits: Success in year-end fundraising campaigns, despite the obvious presence of enduring donor fatigue from the Waldo Canyon Fire.
City Council: Clear heads when acting as the Utilities Board in dealing with the Martin Drake Power Plant issue, and a punching bag in the break room for members to take out their frustrations in private.
Linda Weise, Colorado Springs Conservatory executive director: More support from the downtown crowd, which doesn't always appreciate what it has.
Perry Sanders, owner, Mining Exchange Hotel: Even more success with the hotel and its Springs Orleans restaurant, to inspire more ambitious downtown projects.
Everyone in the region: At least one year, hopefully more, without a major fire, giving us time to become better prepared for the next one.