One of the advantages of being a Grandpa is that Christmas doesn’t take forever to arrive. As a child I remember having to wait a lifetime for the year to pass and for December finally to arrive. Even then it seemed to take another few months to get from the first to the 25th.
Now that I’m a grandpa, it takes no time at all. “Wasn’t it March just the other day?” one asks on 31 July. And it seems that, by the time we receive an answer, it’s already the end of October. I find myself rather wanting to slow the calendar down as we race towards the end of the year. But don’t tell my grandson that I have such scandalous ideas.
I have no culinary or gift-buying skills—both weaknesses carefully honed. As a result I am not very involved in the usual frenetic round of buying and baking that accompanies the build-up to Christmas. I am able to enjoy the more leisurely pursuit of Christmas Carols, contemplation, and the gathering of friends and family, not to mention the benefit of other people’s baking.
One of the disadvantages of age is that one’s pile of presents has dwindled rather drastically over the years. “Your pile of presents is over there” has been replaced with, “This one is yours, and you can open that one; it’s for both of us.” However, while my grandson won’t believe it for another few decades, there are more meaningful things for grandpa than presents. Friendship and good conversation, a chance to relax away from the pressure of work, and the celebration of Christmas with a deeper understanding of its true meaning; these are the benefits of a grandpa’s Christmas.
That is not to say that presents are not welcome or that a slightly larger pile would be wasted on a grandpa. Each to his own, but this grandpa would love to settle down with a good book—a book token from a local bookshop or money to spend at a second-hand bookshop would do the trick. A meal out and coffee with friends would go down a treat. Of course, if your budget allows it, you can send a couple of plane tickets for me to visit my sons and grandson on the other side of the world. But if your budget does allow it then you probably aren’t on my Christmas list. In that case a cool T-shirt will have to do. At least my grandson will think his grandpa is hip (if anyone is still hip).