Given that Santa and I go way, way back together, I've been asked to pass out gifts to lighten the load for Fed Ex, UPS and his aging reindeer.

So let's do this.

• For Bears' coach John Fox, another headset to fidget with in a new city.

• For Bulls' forward Nikola Mirotic, boxing lessons.

• For arrogant blowhard and NBA father LaVar Ball, permanent laryngitis.

• For Illinois football coach Lovie Smith, an even 10 player defections. He's currently at nine.

• For Blackhawks' coach Joel Quenneville, tougher defense, balanced line play and some meanness.

• For The Times No.1-ranked Chesterton boys and girls basketball teams, a colossal high five and good health all season.

• For the Valparaiso men's basketball team, softer seat cushions after getting paddled by Purdue and Northwestern.

• For those administrators who mismanaged finances for years at the now-closed St. Joseph College, the courage to look in the mirror and admit they've ruined several lives.

• For Griffith baseball coach Brian Jennings, a permanent radio gig calling college games on the Learfield Sports Network.

• For the future Gary Sports Hall of Fame, a permanent home inside the Diamond Club at RailCats' Stadium.

• For those homeless men and women begging at various Skyway and Cline Ave. exits, a generous public to provide warm coats and full bellies.

• For Lakeshore TV and WJOB radio, added revenue streams leading to larger staffs and more in-depth coverage of local news and sports.

• For the downtown Gary Genesis Center, the city's biggest white elephant, a sound argument against having it razed.

• For the Cubs and White Sox, a crosstown World Series before the next presidential election.

• For the Gary South Shore RailCats, more "local" players for our "local" team.

• For the football-crazy town of Lowell, a life-time supply of RDP.

• For Calumet College of St. Joseph, student dorms filled to capacity.

• For Bishop Noll High School, a football program.

• For athletes and coaches who drink and drive, better judgment.

• For police, firemen and first-responders, the public's undying respect and appreciation.

• For today's teachers, a reason to feel good about their profession.

• For Purdue University Northwest, a long, competitive run in Division II and a thick skin early on during lop-sided losses.

Hope your wishes come true. Peace, love and a Merry Christmas to all.

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This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com.

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