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My 2 1/2-year-old granddaughter, Kennedy, is going to be a lot of fun this Christmas.

She’s at the age where she enjoys Santa and opening presents. She practiced helping with her momma’s birthday in October and her daddy’s in November.

After she unwrapped a gift of undershirts, my son asked her, “What did I get?” She picked up a package of the shirts, dropped it and said, “Nothing!”

When he opened underwear, she said, “Panties!”

She unwrapped fast, too, just like we like it in my family.

And this year, Kennedy is already warmed up to Santa, too.

I told her we were going to see Santa at Dazzle Daze, a fundraising event where her momma was working. We talked about Santa being a nice guy, and I reminded her that he has a beard. “Like Scott?” she said, referring to her uncle, my 26-year-old son. Sort of, I told her, but Uncle Scott’s beard isn’t white.

She said, “And I can open the present he got me?”

Last year at Dazzle Daze, she was wary of Santa, although she gave him a high five and gladly took the toothbrush he offered. At that time, she was obsessed with brushing her teeth.

I told her she probably would get another toothbrush this year, just to prepare her.

We practiced her smile for the photo, because it’s been in transition — sometimes a little cheesy, with her eyes squeezed shut.

I asked, “What can he do to make you smile?”

She said, “He can say, ‘Ho, Ho, Ho!’”

Dressed in her Christmas T-shirt and jeans and wearing a Santa Claus bow in her curly blond hair, she warmed up by first seeing a big teddy bear mascot at the Teddy Bear Clinic at Dazzle Daze. Last year, she waved from a distance to this bear. This year, she hugged and hugged. She also got a little stuffed bear wearing scrubs and a mask, just like one she sleeps with that she got at Dazzle Daze last year. She immediately asked, “Can I make him nekkid?” She took off his clothes and handed them to me.

Santa made his arrival, and she smiled and waved even before going to be seated by him. There was no hesitation, and she had a sweet smile for the camera. I didn’t even hear him say “Ho, ho, ho.”

She told him she wanted a book for Christmas. That made Mimi’s heart happy. She’s always loved books, and I bought her four at a booth before we left Dazzle Daze, including a sparkly Christmas one she picked out.

At my house, I gave her a Target Christmas catalog and a pen and asked her to mark what she liked. Now I know that doesn’t sit well with some people, making Christmas too commercial. But a lot of us have memories of marking the Sears or Montgomery Ward catalog, or seeing toys on TV that we wanted and making a list for Santa. It’s part of the magic.

She’s always quick to say thank you when she’s given anything and talks about buying things for other people.

I was surprised by some of her choices of toys, like the Star Wars Resistance Y-Wing Starfighter for ages 8 and up, although that would make her great-Uncle Shane and Uncle Scott proud. I was not surprised by the jumbo crane truck, because “excabators” are her favorite machines.

On a page with baby dolls, she said, “All of those,” and pointed to each one.

Kennedy looked at a picture in the catalog of a kid standing next to a Barbie house and pointed to the model: “She needs to move so I can play with it.”

I did not order this Barbie house after I saw that it was roughly the size of my living room, and my son and daughter-in-law probably wouldn’t appreciate it taking up their playroom, either.

Kennedy also, on every pass through this catalog, picked the trampoline designed for a toddler.

I ordered it, and I may regret it. But she’s definitely getting lots and lots of books, too. And probably most of everything else on her list, because that’s what Mimis do.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-5671 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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