Clap your hands to turn on the lights or for other things on the wish list.

Clap your hands to turn on the lights or for other things on the wish list.

This time of year we’re bombarded with silly TV commercials trying to sell us even sillier gift ideas, ranging from Chia pets to underwear, potato chips and everything in between. This year, though, when I saw the ad for “the Clapper,” I thought, “hmm, that might actually be useful.” Wouldn’t  it be a kick to come home to a dark, cold house late at night and just clap your hands to turn on the lights!

So that got me thinking about other gifts that would make life easier, and though years ago I stopped sending my wish list to Santa, I jotted down some suggestions this holiday season, figuring the jolly old man wouldn’t laugh when he saw that most of my wishes don’t exist. But that shouldn’t stop a girl from hoping for a Christmas miracle, should it?

Other than the Clapper, I’d like:

1. For my aching shoulders, ice packs that don’t warm up. Ever.

2. Wheelchair hand rims that warm up just enough to repel snow and keep my gloved hands from freezing.

3. Adjustable kitchens. Yes, that’s right, kitchens with counters, cupboards and appliances that raise and lower. Need something from the refrigerator’s top freezer? No problem; just press a button to lower it. Then raise it back up for the next guy to use. This would truly be a kitchen that works for all.

4) An adjustable seat embedded in the bath tub and/or hot tub. Raise the seat with the push of a button. Transfer on. Lower seat for a long, hot soak. Up again to transfer out of tub.

5) Floor lifter. For those unfortunate times when we land on the floor when we meant to get on the bed/toilet/desk chair, a portable contraption that lowers to the floor with a seat to slide onto. Then flip a switch and it smoothly lifts you back up to where you need to be. No mess, no fuss and no need to call a neighbor (or the EMTs) for help.

If any of these things exist, I’d sure like to know about them (and if they’re even remotely affordable).

Optimistically, here are some wishes I have for our community:

  • That Congress will put aside its partisanship and ratify the United Nations treaty that protects the rights of people with disabilities around the world.
  • That New York City will actually get those wheelchair accessible cabs on the road without putting up more roadblocks.
  • That Catholic parishes will heed the call of Pope Francis for “real inclusion” of people with “sickness and disability” and that other faiths will follow his call.
  • That in 2014 a disabled actor will land a lead role in a film or TV series in which his/her disability won’t be a major part of the plot.  That’s what I call real inclusion.