This past weekend we headed out to see T’s Joepa and Memaw to have our Christmas celebration with them at their home. It was seriously special as my dad officially passed down his 50+-year-old Lionel model train set to T – along with a village of Plasticville houses and structures. My dad worked hard to get the train from his childhood restored and in working condition all in time for Christmas so that it could be up at his house for our visit. We knew it’d be coming our way eventually, but we didn’t know this would be the year, so it was a lovely surprise to walk in and hear the hum of the electrical circuitry and see the smoke stack spewing from the model steam engine chugging around the Christmas tree.
To say T was excited beyond belief would be the understatement of the year. And then once T heard we’d be packing it up and taking it home with us – OH, well, excitement x 1000! CHOO CHOO! (Oh, sorry, for those who are not in the know, T likes trains.)
C then worked hard on Sunday to get the train re-set under our own tree. Luckily, it was a successful installation, and T and the train kept on chugging along (and blowing the whistle, too). Plans are also in works so that we can enjoy the new train year-round rather than just at the holidays. Yes, it is just that special. Stay tuned for a posting of C’s blueprints that can hopefully make this happen!
Another other wonderful tradition that came of our visit this year was the beginning of the holiday “change can grab.” Per Memaw, how it works is you have a big can (or jar or vessel) of change and one empty box per child. You first give the empty box(es) to the child(ren) and watch their face(s) as they think, WTF, you just gave me an empty box?! But then the real fun comes when the can-o-change comes out of hiding.
Each season the keeper of the change can lets the grand-kids (or nieces-nephews… or any and all of the kids at their special gathering really!) take one hand and reach into the change. However many coins each child can pick up in one grab goes into their box and is theirs for the keeping.
To say I didn’t coach T how to do this would be a severe understatement. Whoever knew I was so competitive (I’m raising my hand as I type this, by the way)?! Although T was the only child at this gathering, he still got to use just one of his 5-year-old hands, so I made sure to tell him exactly how to get in there like an excavator and scoop it up (open, cupped hand versus a closed-hand grab).
T’s results: Approximately $6 in coins, including $5 in quarters alone!
As the years by and the children grow, so shall their money grab each holiday season (or birthday or whatever the annual event)… that’s the idea behind it anyway. You can use pennies or a mix of change depending on what you can afford, how many and age of kids involved, and/or how long you’ve been saving up. And though this is something that you do sort-of need to plan for in advance if you aren’t the type to have a bucket-o-change just lying around, the good news is it isn’t hard to start once you choose to embrace this new tradition. All it takes is spare change and a can big enough for those small hands (though the can might need to size-up as the hands grow through the years!).
I’d never heard of this tradition until this last weekend, but I am so glad that Memaw has brought it to our family. We like to grab onto traditions however, whenever, and where ever we can… and in this case, actually grab them from a can!
What are some of your favorite or new-to-you-this-year holiday traditions in your own extended families, RMT’ers?
My seven-year-old LOVES trains. Every year I ask my wife if he is old enough for me to get him a serious model train set. She insists he is still not mature enough. 😦
One new tradition I have wanted to start is having everyone write down on a paper something they have done for someone else so that we can share them with each other on Christmas.
Yep, this was the year for the train transfer BUT I’d say 5-years-old is still a wee bit young for independent operation of this type/ level of train. My dad even admitted later he was 8 or 9, not 5 or 6 like he thought (that was another train he’d owned). In fact, just last night the whistle switch was left in the operating position while the transformer was off, but it still somehow over-heated a bit :(. I think it’s better now though that it cooled down and we gave it a nice rest. Thank goodness C is handy and can troubleshoot such things because I’d have no idea what to do if I saw smoke other than unplug and get the thing outside! Now we just won’t now let T operate it without an adult’s 100 percent undivided attention to the cause… as in RIGHT there sitting on the floor with him (v the couch that’s not even 10 feet away which was where we’d been).
Love your addition to the tradition list also! Thanks for reading/ replying!
I could be persuaded to sit and watch the train. 😉
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