I enjoyed another great Christmas. Again we all gathered at my son’s house, which was so beautifully decorated. Their normal dining room looked like a picture from House Beautiful.
My daughter-in-law, Liz, had several relatives visiting from out of state. Relatives originally from New York whom I had not seen in several years, but delightful and interesting company. My Southern children were there, plus visiting neighbors who came after the Christmas feast for dessert and coffee.
The Christmas dinner was a mixture of Southern and Northern dishes, and believe me, we all eat different kinds of cookery. We had the southern creamed corn, mashed potatoes and white cream gravy.
Northerners prepare very different kinds of casseroles they are accustomed to having on holidays. Everyone enjoyed the wonderful prime rib roast with au jus sauce the northern company eats instead of the southern cream gravy. Then one guest from South Africa was on an eating binge of only fresh uncooked foods, which she prepared and brought with her. Then there’s my one son and grandchildren who are strictly vegetarian.
But in spite of all the various appetites and eating habits, there was plenty to accommodate everyone. I for one enjoyed all of it.
After dinner, we all retired to the living room to enjoy the music from the beautiful grand piano acquired this year. My two granddaughters, ages 9 and 11, have taken piano lessons since they were quite young and entertained us with several pieces of music they played together and then separately. One son of a visiting aunt rapped out one great musical piece on the baby grand.
The centerpiece of delightful entertainment was watching Prince William, age 3, playing with all the toys he received . . . enough to start his own Toys R Us store. But he expressed appreciation for everything he received, giggling with delight as he jumped from operating one toy to another. The girls showed off their gifts of American Dolls and new pieces of their wardrobe. The mother of Liz came with her fiancée and showed off her beautiful engagement ring. A dazzling diamond.
Afterwards, some played cards and some went outside to enjoy watching William ride more outdoor toys and play in the new swing set. Then we enjoyed the exchange of gifts piled under a very large, beautifully decorated tree.
From the delicious food, to the music, the pleasant company, the joy of the children and the wonderful gifts, it was a great Christmas to say the least. I think everyone enjoyed themselves. And I particularly felt so blessed to have such a wonderful family. The real essence of joy at Christmas is the gathering together of family; plus, the bonus of being a part of the joy and delight of children. Listening to 3-year-old William trying to figure how Santa got his tricycle down the chimney, I thought to myself, it just doesn’t get any better than this.
And the next day, Prince William spent the afternoon with me, bringing several toys, expecting me to get down on the floor and play with him as if I was 3-year-old and explaining to me how his toys work. When he visits, I play cars, trains, and games and do whatever he wants to do, sometimes giggling as he remarks about bossing me around. But I know how fast children grow up and I enjoy every moment I spend playing with him. He loves pulling a stool up to the kitchen stove and helping me cook.
I have one bedroom designated as the children’s room. Filled with toys, books and dress up clothes plus a toy stove and refrigerator, they can pretend to cook and also have a table with toy dishes where they pretend to serve. They have toy jewelry they mix up for a salad and tiny flowers they mix together and call spaghetti. They fill a teapot with orange juice and serve it as tea and coffee. When they leave, I close the door to that room until their next visit. They love that toy room.
I have a few rules and one is they can’t strew things in the floor. On a recent visit, William left some things on the floor. When I asked him who did it, he said a ghost did, and then looked under the bed for a ghost. He pulled out a rag doll and said it was the ghost and decided to punish the ghost for strewing in the floor by taking a pan of water and drowning it.
Afterwards, he placed it on the patio to dry. When he left, I placed it in the toy room in a sunny window to dry. The next time he came, he wanted to know where the ghost was. When I showed him, he picked it up and hugged it apologetically, holding it for drowning it. What a treat to observe the way a child’s mind works, learns and develops.
I told him the ghost probably did not like the way he was treated before. Of his own volition, he decided to make up for it by hugging and loving his pretend ghost. It’s amazing to observe the conclusions children come to on their own to do the right thing. With very little guidance, they innately know right from wrong.
One of the most interesting facets of their development is observing how territorial they are about the property that belongs to them. They can act quite selfish about sharing with other children, but when left alone without interference of guilt trips by grown-ups, they voluntarily share with others. When they know they can refuse to share with others, a sense of control of their property kicks in and they decide to involuntarily share when left alone to decide for themselves. I never place a guilt trip on a child for not sharing, but remind them it’s their property and they can do as they choose with it.
I have observed some parents punishing children for not sharing, which ingrains resentment in the child. To assist a child in the understanding of the concept of ownership of property is such an important step in their development.
Around Christmastime when most children receive so much, it is an opportune time to assist in a healthy attitude relative to one’s ownership of property.
This Christmas, I hope all my readers enjoyed it as much as I did.
Let Freedom Ring!