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A New Christmas Tradition

Picture 1We stacked Christmas gifts under our Christmas tree until three years ago when Husband came home with two big boxes a few days after Thanksgiving and said, “I bought us an early Christmas present!”  An electric train.  I never knew we needed a train.

This surprise gift was actually for our Grands.  And prompted by our oldest Grand, David, who was five years old at the time.  When he visited, he’d drag out the little wooden train set that our son played with when he was young.  David connected the track pieces and pulled the rail cars around the track.  Then he would take the pieces apart, create a different track, and while lying on his belly on the floor, he pulled those cars around and around.

The past two years, Husband has set up the electric train under our Christmas tree and filled the train cars with treats –our Grands’ favorite candies.

But now, as of last week, we have a new Christmas tradition.  The setting up of the train.  Our three oldest Grands bound into the living room.  David, age 8, said, “Where’s the track?  We need to get started.”  His sisters Lou and Ruth, ages 6 and 4, went straight for the bags of candy.  Husband suggested to David where to place the curved and straight track pieces.  Lou ripped the top off a bag of peppermints and arranged the candy in a green train car.  Ruth opened a bag of Dum Dums suckers and dumped them on the floor.  The fun had begun!

But we were missing one Grand who needed to be a part of this new tradition.  Dan is 2 ½ and lives an airplane ride away.  That little wooden train set is now his and he spends hours making tracks and pulling the cars around and around just like his daddy and his older cousin did.  And I wanted Dan to see his Pop’s electric train and his cousins setting it up.  So through the magic of video communication, Dan’s daddy and I connected on iPhones.

Now I’m pretty good with video chat on a big computer when I sit still and watch and talk.  But I need practice with Face Time.  I heard Dan’s mother say, “I think your phone is on mute,” and “Can you take your finger off the camera?”  And there’s a tiny screen, smaller than a postage stamp, that I was suppose to be able to see what I was showing Dan.  Even with my glasses on, I couldn’t see that screen.

David moved around the Christmas tree connecting track pieces.  Ruth poured bags of Hershey’s kisses, Smartees, and chocolate Santas onto the floor.  Lou stacked candy in train cars.  I pointed my phone all around the room to share the fun with Dan, but he wasn’t happy.  He wanted to touch the train and eat a piece of candy.  He wanted to be here.

The Grands here shouted, “Bye!” to Dan.  Husband promised Dan that he could blow the train whistle and that his favorite candy, Dum Dums, will be on a train car when he visits soon.

Chaos?  Yes.  Mess?  Yes.  Making memories?  Yes.  Do it again?  Yes.

Glad Husband bought the train?  Yes.  That’s how traditions begin.  And there are reasons to create new traditions just as there are reasons to keep the old ones.