One evening last week, I was sitting on the old rocker, delicate, hand-knitted afghan (not my clumsy fingers, but somebody with talent and an eye for tasteful design) tucked over my denimed lap, wondering why somebody hasn’t invented marshmallows for diabetic cocoa, digging on the whole bein’ a Granny thing, John Lennon quietly musing in the background “…so this is Christmas…”; kitty purring on one arthritic knee, grand daughter, Lexie, perched on the other.
Random flurries of snow passed by our window, reflecting the glow from nearby holiday house lights; such a gentle, peaceful Hallmark moment, this genuine “Tender Tennessee Christmas” about which our friend and neighbor Amy Grant so beautifully sings.
“This is so way cool,” I thought to myself. ”Wouldn’t this be just the perfect time to read Lexie Christmas in the Barn or Olive the Orphan Reindeer or maybe even Why the Chimes Rang.”
Pulling out a dingy storybook from my own distant childhood and settling the bifocals firmly atop my nose, I shooed the cat down and cuddled Lexie closer. “There was once in a faraway country…”
That’s as far as I got before the Horrible Childe demanded a very serious discussion about all this Christmas stuff she’s been seeing and hearing at her nursery school and while on play dates, a veritable potpourri of religious and secular, apples and oranges, champagne and Koolaid.
“How come Santa lives in the North Pole, Nana? Who tells him who’s naughty or nice? Was Jesus ever naughty? What happens to kids who live in houses without chimleys? If the three wise men were so smart, how come they had to follow a star to find baby Jesus? Didn’t they have a Tom-Tom? Why did they give a little baby gold and Frankenstein, and who was Merv? What if Jesus wanted a pony; could he write to Santa? Does Santa read all his mail? Nana, what happens to kids like me who can’t spell too good? How come candy canes are red and green? Did Mary really put a letter “M” on a kitty cat’s head ’cause it kept baby Jesus warm? What about kids who don’t know about Jesus? Why does egg nog taste like you forgot to cook the eggs? How come YOUR egg nog tastes different from mine, Nana?” the little girl babbled.
“Uh, Lexie, let’s go talk to your Mommy,” I replied, gulping back the rest of MY eggnog. Amanda, bless her pagan little heart, wasn’t much help, especially since the definitive answers to her child’s queries weren’t exactly Google-able. I did have an enlightening time checking out holiday urban legends, folklore, stories and old wives’ tales at snopes.com - Who knew people in Pennsylvania once pelted poor St. Nick while booing the jolly, old elf? Did anyone know that cats are given the gift of speech for one brief second precisely at the stroke of midnight on Dec.25? And just wait ’til you take a gander at some of the synchronized music and light shows the Snopes folks will bring to your attention!
PLUS, they did give me an idea of how YOU, the endowered powerful, can get involved, provide some interesting, entertaining and amusing input and maybe give us all something to think about. In return, the enthralled, youngest of the multi-generational Garey girls will select your most evocative, creative and satisfying response as Grand Prize Winner, for which you will receive an original, one-of-a-kind, objet d’ art specifically created, framed, autographed and sent to your mailing address upon your approval. (Lexie is no Da Vinci, but she can give Jackson Pollock a run for his money – AND her code doesn’t require Dan Brown to decipher.)
What are YOUR favorite holiday rumors, stories or folk tales? Have you put up for display, witnessed or discovered via YouTube a most amazing yard lighting and/or musical decoration? Is there a children’s Christmas or winter festival video online that will make the season extra merry for us all? Share your thoughts – use as many 1500-character comment boxes as you need – and give us all the wonderful gift that keeps on giving – LAUGHTER!
And for EXTRA CREDIT, will somebody pul-leeze tell me how to decipher the following–it’s Lexie’s (paraphrased) take on the whole slightly dysfunctional Santa Claus family situation:
“Santa and Mrs. No-First-Name Claus live at the North Pole with a bunch of elves and reindeer, no discernible means of financial support or access to groceries, electricity, cable television, computers, or other social contact. 364 days a year, the hefty, but happy, duo who never change their clothes, and their vertically-challenged companions do nothing but make toys for well-behaved children, all of whom Mr. Claus personally supervises; in one 24-hour period, said Mr. Claus travels the globe delivering nice stuff to each good child while bad kids get coal or stones, but grown-ups have to buy each other things they don’t even know they want; Santa’s mode of transportation is a flying sleigh drawn by the otherwise useless reindeer, including one with a red nose, but none of them have wings or motors.”
Wishing you all a helpful, happy, laughing, loving holiday!