In deference to my rapidly aging body, I bought a new, smaller Christmas tree this fall. I assembled it on the porch and wrapped it with lights in late October just to be sure I had time to do it justice in the event that the premature arrival of baby grandsons preempt my spare time. I use the OCD method of wrapping lights around each branch so it’s a lengthy process. Jet executed a staggering double take when she noticed it.
“Grandma! There’s a great big tree inside this house!”
“Yes, that’s a Christmas tree. It’s going to stay on the porch until Christmas time. Then I’ll bring it inside and decorate it.”
Jet looked at me blankly. Clearly “Christmas” had no meaning to her. I should have realized this, of course. She is simply too young to remember things that happened a year ago. I tried to make some connections for her by talking about Jesus and his birthday. Birthdays are something she understands, but she wasn’t really listening that day — she was more interested in the books about dogs she’d discovered in a basket on the porch.
Fast forward to the end of November when I brought the new tree inside and put up my other decorations, including two nativity sets and a little three-foot tree with colored LED lights just for Jet. I bought plastic ornaments in a package of 6 for $1.00 from the bargain bin at Target and added ribbon hangers so she could place them without help.
I always enjoy decorating for Christmas but the opportunity to share family traditions with a new generation this year has really put me in the sprit! The local radio station has been playing the seasonal music and I have two sticks of bells to shake to the beat. Jet is learning to sing “Jingle Bells,” too.
After breakfast Jet was excited to discover a little tree glowing in the center of the living room, or as Jet calls it, “our playroom.” She was even more excited to learn that she could do more than just look at it. I demonstrated how to place one of the ornaments on a branch. Once was all she needed to be able to hang them like a pro.
“My tree is beautiful, Grandma!”
“It sure is!”
We carried the little tree to “her” bedroom where she would be able to see it during her nap. I have a Pinterest page full of ornament crafting ideas for the future (when she has a little more dexterity) but for now we are working on a simple garland of red beads. I wrapped a piece of painter’s tape around one end of some green yarn so she can fit the yarn easily through the hole in the beads. She works on it for about 10 minutes at a time at various intervals throughout the day and seems mesmerized by the growing length.
“I take this home to show Mama!” It was a statement not a question.
“Yes, you can take it home and put it on your tree at home.”
This thought inspired her to give Grandma some beads to make the work go faster. I have to wait for her to specify my turn, however. If I forget, to wait for permission… she takes my turn away!
When nap time came she was tired and ready. She arranged herself with her face turned to gaze at the lights on her tree.
“Two kisses! Two kisses please!”
I blew the obligatory two kisses from my fingers. A dreamy smile came to her lips as I quietly closed the door.