Holidays + grandchildren = merry mayhem

By Diana J. Ewing

Whether you deck the halls or observe other seasonal celebrations, there’s nothing like grandkids to put the ho-ho-ho back in your holidays. These cheery cherubs, who can brighten up any old day with their quirky questions and disarming smiles, give you a fresh perspective on this special time of year.

What could be better than unwrapping Lily’s first clay handprint with the tiny chip that makes it more endearing? Or watching Jack attack a caramel apple minus his two front teeth?

Family dinnerWith the unique brand of merry mayhem today’s youngsters can stir up, your seasonal activities as a grandparent could go something like this:

Ask the smaller tykes to make ornaments for a special kids-only tree, and they’ll probably provide felt snowmen, construction paper chains, and odd but interesting pipe-cleaner creatures.

Extend the same invitation to your tween-aged grandkids, and they’ll come up with downloaded photos of Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and Beyoncé. Not quite what you had in mind, but it’s their tree. And you have to applaud their ingenuity.

Things probably won’t be cookie-cutter perfect when the cutie-patooties help you with holiday baking, either. Be on the lookout for big-nosed monsters or other non-holiday shapes they’ll try to sneak onto the cookie sheets.

Then comes the holiday feast, when things get really interesting. All too many of us live with the memory of being routinely banished to the children’s table in the kitchen when holiday mealtime rolled around. Oh, the sense of rejection. But that’s the ghost of holidays—and therapy sessions—past, and there’s so much to celebrate in the present.

Now, the kids get to sit at the big table with the grown-ups, and they put on quite a show. The little ones shriek, crawl under the table, and claim not to be hungry while expertly smooshing potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce into a ghastly soup on their plates. Not five minutes later, they’re dishing up big helpings of Jell-O salad.

The older kids aren’t any better. They act bored with the proceedings and then focus their attention on those electronic devices they can’t live without.

Overly permissive parenting, you’ll bite your tongue not to say as you issue the holiday ultimatum: “Behave yourselves, or we bring out the fruitcake.” Maybe the kids’ table wasn’t such a bad idea, after all.

All I want for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa

Remember your childhood wish list? My, how things have changed now that you have adult kids and grandkids of your own.

THEN NOW
Ribbon candy and foil-covered chocolate coins See’s, nothing but See’s
A bigger allowance A bigger 401(k)
Higher grades Lower cholesterol
A shiny new bell for your bicycle A shiny new car for your driveway
Cool shoes Comfortable shoes
Stay up all night Sleep through the night
Grow up faster Grow old slower

{bio}
Diana J. Ewing
Diana J. Ewing of Laguna Niguel, California, spent 30 years in advertising and public relations before venturing into humor writing with her first book, The Baby Boomers’ Guide to Grandparenting.

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