A penguin named Duck

The mystery and wonder of the holiday season takes on a whole new meaning when you have a 17-month-old nephew to experience it with. You have to wonder what’s going through his mind as he encounters all of the different aspects of Christmas.

What are these things wrapped under the tree? What is this tree, and why does everyone say “pretty, no touch” whenever I go near it? You mean, I get to tear the paper off this thing and there’s a toy inside? Why can’t I do it by myself?

I don’t get to see my nephew nearly enough – the one bad thing about living so far away from family – so the times I get with him are precious. Over the past week, he’s started to warm up to me again. We’ve read books together, watched more episodes of “Thomas and Friends” than I knew existed, and played with puzzles.

But the thing I find the most fascinating is his discovery of his friend, Duck.

Duck … is a penguin.

A penguin named DuckIt’s a Christmas decoration that my parents had in the basement, which my nephew proudly discovered one day prior to my arrival here in Pennsylvania. He gave it a hug. He saw the yellow beak, and he called it Duck. Which makes sense, if you’re 17-months-old. He sits on the bench next to Duck. He likes to make Duck’s colors change by pressing the button. It’s safe to say that the two are friends. And we’ve started calling the penguin Duck, too.

It’s all very cute. But I think my nephew may actually be on to something. With all of the chaos, the new toys, the presents, and that darn tree that he isn’t allowed to touch, he has discovered something simple in a Christmas decoration we had all taken for granted.

We don’t often think of simple things. Maybe it’s because we’re all so distracted by the shiny and new or latest and greatest. But how many times, in any aspect of our lives, have we stopped to realize that in most cases, simple is best?

May we all strive for simple – in whatever form that takes for each of us – as we enjoy the holidays with those we love and prepare for a new year.

So, Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you and yours … from me, my nephew … and the penguin named Duck.

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