Thursday, December 3, 2020


 William had Monday off from school and he was quite excited to help me bring down the holiday decorations from the attic. We got the tree up, and we got the lights on, and the glass beads that look like bits of ice reflecting in the light. 

We began to unpack the ornaments. Every year he hears the stories of them. 'This is an ornament that was on my parents very first Christmas tree, 5 months before I was born. They were your great-grandparents, William,' and 'These two ornaments are from the Christmas tree of Grandpa's mother and father.' There are three small baby shoes and they are from his mother, and his uncle, and his aunt. He can pick those out himself. The White House commemorative ornaments. An ornament from my very first Christmas with his mother. a hard time when I didn't even think about putting up a tree, but someone who cared a great deal brought one and decorated it for me. The little red heart. The ornaments from travels, ours and the kids. A lot of ornaments and a great many of them have stories. 

Every year, William recites the ones he knows, and I fill in the gaps. Every year there are less gaps for me to be fill in. Those ornaments tell a story about his family.

He decorated his little tree that always sets in the front hall. 

When we were done, we took the boxes upstairs and set them in a spare bedroom. He looked at all the wrapped presents. He said in a very helpful voice, "I could carry these down for you, Grandma. We could put them under the tree. That would be another job done."

I acted as if that had never occurred to me. "That's a great idea."

He began taking presents down and arranging them under the tree. He was very mindful of the name tags. It wasn't long before he got to a big gift. It has a tag on it, but there is no name on it. It's his gift, his main gift, and I didn't put a tag on it, because I don't want him to figure out what it is. 

"Grandma! You forgot to put a name on this one!" 

I said, "Hmmmmmmmm...."

He said, "Who's it for?" 

Me: "I'll have to see if I can remember." 

He drags it to the top of the stairs. "I will need help getting this one down the stairs." 

I helped him, and he chattered all the way down, wondering whose gift it was. 'It's heavy." "Is it mine?" 

I made noncommittal answers and his curiosity was well and truly piqued. He set that at the back of the tree against the wall, and continued to ask questions. I continued to be evasive. 

He had his suspicions, but he's afraid to get his hopes up. He said, "It's probably for Grandpa, isn't it? The biggest boxes are always for him."

He shook the box gently a few more times, asked a few more questions. I got him involved in something else, but he kept coming back to look at the presents under the tree. 

I'll write his name on the box that contains his hoverboard on Christmas Eve. 


  1. Oh to be young again and prodding the presents under the tree.
    Not quite so much fun when you know what everything is because you've bought them all

  2. It's easy to forget, as an adult, how exciting and mysterious Christmas is to children. I'm glad William knows the stories of the ornaments and thus about his own family. It's important to know the history of your people!

  3. He is already hovering over the hoverboard in a way.

  4. LOL. AC, you are correct!

    My favorite Christmas song is going to horrify many. I love Clint Black's 'Milk and Cookies'. I think it perfectly captures the anxious waiting of a small child. I remember being that child. I remember raising those children. Now I am the grandma. All of it delights me, and it doesn't matter whether I know what what's in the boxes or don't.

  5. I always enjoyed hanging up the ornaments with history on our tree but a handful of years back, my wife decided she wanted to be more sophisticated. This year it is gold and silver so most of the ornaments I remembered are in a box still. But I sorted through it and remembered before we put it back downstairs.

  6. I will never be sophisticated, I guess. I love Christmas for all its sentimental trappings.


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