She was a whirling dervish—the kind of person that dropped a casserole off to a recovering parishioner after a committee meeting on the way to a game of Bridge with friends. Grandma Gregg rarely said no to anyone or anything, especially family, friends, or a worthy cause.

Crafting was her favorite past time and she tackled each project with the same fervor as the rest of her full life.

Reindeer made from clothespins, chocolate heart lollipops, Uncle Sam doorstoppers… a holiday or season never passed without an associated creation.

She was an avid sewer, lover of the art of Scherenschnitte (say that five times fast) who went through a prolific ceramics stage. 

I always appreciated her endeavors and often joined in on visits. Still, “No thanks” was my usual response when she’d ask if I wanted her latest creative undertaking. It was hard to get excited about a ceramic frog sponge holder back then.

“Take the frog sponge holder!” That’s what I would say to my twenty-year-old self now. 

Because decades later you will remember exactly how she looked when she wiggled her tongue as she painted. How she admired your lackluster ceramic efforts through smeared glasses that she never found time to clean. How no matter how hectic or hard her life was, she never said no to time with you.
There was one time that I did say yes. Somehow I had the vision or maybe it was guilt? I honestly don’t remember. 

Grandma loved sparkle. There wasn’t a sweatshirt or lampshade or ceramic pumpkin that couldn’t be improved with a glue gun and glitter.

It must have shaken her to her jubilant core to make me a clear glaze white ceramic nativity scene. But she knew, maybe even before I did, that I found simplicity comforting. 

White lights draped across a crisp porcelain landscape of tradition. 

That’s what I see now when I look at my nativity scene. A gift given long before I had a surface to place it on, or kids to tell the story to, or enough life in my heart to appreciate what it would all mean someday. 

A portal through a litany of holiday obligation straight to the heart of the season. Peace.

Merry Christmas, Grandma.