The paperwork has been submitted. Everything seems in order. Now it's time to sit down and develop a plan to see what can be done.

I just got the official Christmas lists from my three children. Well, two children -- the third one is 4 and writes in hieroglyphics. So her sister wrote it for her.

My first thought was: What world do these kids think they live in?

My second was: Where can you even find a killer whale, and how would they gift wrap it?

In comparison to the past few years -- when the kids asked for things like the ability to fly and a suit of armor -- this year's requests are fairly reasonable. But the lists lead me to believe they seem to think Daddy founded Microsoft. Perhaps they haven't noticed that I haven't bought so much as a new pair of pants for myself since they were born. If I were to actually purchase everything on their list, the American economy would be fully recovered by January.

Learned list

The overachiever, who loves science as intensely as her father loves Burt Reynolds movies, wants things like a cordless microscope and slides (preferably blue); science, mystery and history books; a telescope and solar flowers, because as she notes, her little sister broke hers. I don't have a clue what that means.

She also thinks it's possible for Santa to bring an iPhone (white), various iPod accessories, video games, a guitar, some type of skateboard that sounds incredibly dangerous, a surfboard and a saltwater fish tank that contains clownfish, starfish, hermit crabs and a shark.

No problem. Tiger or great white?


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The other 10-year-old -- the incredibly imaginative one -- was more grounded in reality this year than in the past, when she asked for things like a saddle to ride the dinosaur she was going to catch.

In 2012, she only wants an Xbox video game system, expensive Legos (like there's another kind), a saltwater fish tank with a clownfish and snails (snails?), a pogo stick, a Zen garden, solar flowers ("so cute!") and a motor scooter.

That's right -- a motor scooter. She's 10. Yes, allow me to make your life more wonderful and buy you something that will put you in the hospital.

Barbies and a mic

The 4-year-old, aka the Comedian, allegedly wants Spider-Man web shooters, a teddy bear, Barbies, blocks, nail polish and lipstick (which will end up on the dog), a microphone, a video game, a doll head to put makeup on, flower toys, a Minnie Mouse and a Facebook account.

I have a feeling that last one wasn't exactly her idea.

I'm sure other parents are reading similar lists and having a good laugh. Why not? It's the time of the year when kids should dream big -- as long as no one gets disappointed when there's not a large sea mammal under the tree Christmas morning.

Meanwhile, my wife's list, posted next to the children's on the kitchen wall, seems just as implausible. Colored, stemless wine glasses are doable. I'm not so sure about the clean house and children doing all their own laundry. We can only try our best.

Then there's my list, which is empty. Like a lot of dads, I pretty much have everything I want and know that anything lodged on the other side of the "we can't afford that" line will have to wait.

Then again, I could use a new pair of pants.

Contact Tony Hicks at thicks@bayareanewsgroup.com or at Facebook.com/BayAreaNewsGroup.TonyHicks.