HAVE YOU EVER noticed how everyone -- including people you barely know -- wants to know what you want for Christmas?
Let me tell you, there is no really appropriate answer.
If you say, ''I'd like a Mercedes 540 SL,'' they view you as mercenary (and, with an $80,000 price tag, a bit daft, I suspect).
If you say ''It's better to give than receive. You don't have to get me a present . . . ,'' they know you're kidding.
If you say, ''Your friendship is gift enough,'' they think you're dying.
If you say, ''World peace,'' they know you don't mean it or if you do mean it that even Macy's doesn't carry that.
Ergo -- there's no appropriate answer.
So, to avoid the embarrassment of having people ask me that question, each year I routinely send out a list of those things I'd most like for Christmas. Here (for your early Holiday shopping) is the list for 1990.
I would like:
There ought to be enough salespeople proportionate to the number of holiday shoppers.
Santa's choices to not be limited just to naughty or nice -- I have an aversion to both.
To find a toy that comes with batteries included.
To know why the majority of us ever studied the Pythagorean theory.
* Food with green and red icing on it to look more appetizing.
To pay off my Christmas bills in the same length of time it takes me to purchase them.
All of us to take turns winning the Maryland Lottery (odd-numbered addresses split the pot on odd numbered days etc.)
To bring all our troops stationed overseas to California for a Holiday concert with the stars -- instead of the other way around.
There is also, of course, a corresponding list of those things I don't want for Christmas -- although no one ever asks me to name these.
These include (but are not limited to):
I do not want to see a car decorated with Christmas lights this year.
I do not want to see reindeer which are not brown nor Christmas trees that are not green.
I do not want to see any more flowers, soda cans or other inanimate objects which dance to music.
Now, if only I could still fit on Santa's knee . . .
*Ms. Schulte knows who's naughty and nice.