KENNEBUNK — This year, my husband and I are blessed to have our 8-year-old granddaughter and her parents living with us. As we are about to experience a multigenerational Christmas, our attitude toward the holidays is slowly and grudgingly changing. Instead of thinking that Christmas is to be endured, we are actually starting to enjoy the endless preparations.

The following conversations have swirled around our house these last few days before the festivities:

“When can we cut down a Christmas tree?”

“We have an artificial tree now to help the environment.”

“But I want a real tree.”

“Too bad. Think of that little tree you saved.”

“When can we put up the tree?”

“When Grandpa has enough energy to bring it downstairs.”

Clunk, clunk, clunk.

Out of the box it comes in three pieces.

“Oh, it’s broken. Now we can have a real tree.”

Grandpa slowly puts the offending tree together.

Next comes the plastic mistletoe we’ve had for 50-odd years.

“We had real mistletoe in New Mexico.”

“Well, this is Maine.”

“Ooohh, I want to see Grammy and Grandpa kiss on the lips.”

So we dutifully oblige her, with a big juicy kiss under the mistletoe.

“Oh, gross!”

“Let’s decorate the tree. All my friends are already finished.”

We haul the boxes of ornaments downstairs.

Bump, bump, bump.

“This is so cute. I never saw these decorations before.”

“Yes, you did. You saw them last Christmas. You just don’t remember. Careful, some of them are almost a hundred years old.”

After two days we finally have everything on the tree and it’s all lit up with built-in lights that Grandpa didn’t have to put on. (He is ecstatic about that.)

I peek in the living room and see her staring at the tree.

“Will someone please come in and sit beside the tree with me?”

We all take turns sitting with her and admiring it.

“Let’s play Christmas music!”

Grandpa gets up and puts on an LP record of Handel’s “Messiah.”

“No, not that music, I want ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.’ It’s my favorite Christmas song.”

Yesterday she made white paper chains to further adorn the tree.

“You know you could color them.”

“Yes, Grammy. You get a gold star.”

Sarcasm from an 8-year-old! What is this world coming to?

“I want to make these blue cupcakes.”

Her mother tells her that food coloring isn’t good for her.

“We always used it when you were little.”

New times, new information.

At the dinner table:

“You’d better eat your dinner. Remember, Santa Claus is coming.”

“I’m 8 now. I don’t believe in Santa, but I still hang my stocking.”

“OK, whatever.”

“How is the baby Jesus so important? He’s only a baby.”

“He grew up to help a whole lot of people.”

“Where was baby Jesus born?”

“Jerusalem.”

“No, Nazareth.”

“Bethlehem, in a barn, in a manger.”

“What’s a manger?”

“It’s a place for food for cows.”

“Why was he born in a cow food place in a barn?”

“Because there was no room at the inn.”

Today after school, she sat down at her “work station” – a card table – and wrote something. She handed it to me with a smile.

“Here’s a little poem I wrote for you:

‘Sweet, loving, caring Grammy

Come with me and see

You aren’t just a nanny.’ ”

Wow! OK!

So now we’re cutting out snowflakes with six sides, making cupcakes with no food coloring, needle felting angels for the tree, singing carols and listening to her read us the Christmas story.

Seeing the holidays through the eyes of an 8-year-old is indeed transformative – and much more fun than being a Scrooge.

 

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