This, of course, is that time of year when your significant other asks you what you’d really like under the tree, and you reply something on the order of “Oh baby, all I really want is you.” She gives you the obligatory smile, reciprocates, and then says, “Yeah, but really…” Your brain goes into overdrive. Smoke appears. And then half-seriously you say, “Well, a new Beamer might look good in the driveway,” and she flips on the TV.

The best approach, you’d agree, is to be ready for the inevitable question with a half-dozen options, with either very low dollar values or a descending scale, starting with seat-covers for the long-suffering inhabitant of the garage.

Or this year you could throw out a bona fide game changer: You say, “I’d like to move,” quickly adding the city of your choice, and further adding that you want her to come with you.  (C’mon! It’s Christmas! Think big!)

Really. Haven’t you ever said, “Honey, did you ever think you’d like to live in…” and name a couple of candidate cities? (Forget a ranch in Montana. What if you need a quart of milk at 2:00 a.m.?) This is one, obviously, where check-book size is not an issue, because if you get any kind of positive response, you do get to that.

This much I firmly believe: Everyone has that secret Shangrila that calls. Yeah, the old hacienda is comfortable, and the old friends are…note the word “old.” But sometime before you hang up your spurs, you’d like to try a major adventure. London, Madrid, Sydney, Vienna, New York…

…and for me, since you ask, Paris.

Of course, for writers and artists that’s sort of a given. They all, at one time in their careers, set up a typewriter or an easel in Paris. You want to be able to say, “Well, I wrote that when I was living in Paris.” And actually, this is the one we muse about when things get slow. We’ve both been there a number of times, the last time — a year ago — together. If you’ve been taking notes over the past year, you’ll recall that we marveled about everything in the city, from world-class mass transit to manageable size to just how wonderful it is. They say that people fall in love with Paris and it turns out to be true. We did, and in the year since have yacked about how we could return for the — or at least “a” — long term.

The key for us, and probably most people, is how badly do you want to do it, or as a friend once put it, what are you willing to give up? How strong are the  positives, and do they out-weigh the negatives? For sure, there’s a lot more to it than grabbing a copy of a Rosetta Stone DVD and learning a new language. Then again, for me I can do my kind of work anywhere there’s an electrical outlet. Shoot. I could maintain this blog from Moscow.

I guess it comes down to your sense and need for adventure, with a mild nod to your sign (if you go for those kinds of things, but a couple of poor encounters on a Friday night can cure you of all that forever). Yet many people actually take the plunge, and at the very least come back to home shores convinced that the colonies aren’t all that bad after all. People who are wise about these things counsel several brief stays at your target site before selling all your furniture, which definitely includes meeting your new neighbors and finding out if you can tolerate the local cuisine.

Anyhow, that’s a suggestion for Christmas in 2010. Pop that gift idea and then take a step backward and brace for the reaction… and be very ready with a good followup if she says, “What a great idea! God, you’re romantic!”