PORT ORCHARD — As the dates on the December calendar tumble toward the biggest day of the year — Dec. 25, Christmas Day — who better to consult for a glimpse of the excitement it brings about than a quartet of preschoolers?
We spoke this week with 5-year-old Grifinn Hofmeister and a trio of 4-year-old girls — Raegan Hunt, Kaitlin Mottino and Cedar Winslow — who attend Adventureland Preschool, which is part of Adventure of Faith Church in Port Orchard. This lively group — filled with the wiggles after a noontime stint in the playground — graciously spared several minutes from their busy schedule to share their thoughts about the upcoming Christmas holiday.
Blonde-haired Cedar, bedecked in a top featuring pink and orange flamingos, said her favorite thing about Christmas was “having a good time.” Fellow blondie Raegan, wearing a sweater top adorned with pink, white and green hearts, and emblazoned by a sparkly white kitty, answered that she most enjoyed “helping my mom wrap presents.”
But little Kaitlin, showing signs that an afternoon nap would be a welcome respite, cut to the chase: “My favorite thing about Christmas is opening presents.”
The three girls were asked what they wanted Santa to bring them from the North Pole, and as every parent of a preschooler knows, their choices were open to wide interpretation. For instance, just what is a “Shimmer & Shine” water bottle?
Kaitlin was a tough customer to interpret, all squirms and wiggles while draping herself on a bench just inside the preschool. In addition to the above-noted water bottle, the little girl volunteered that Santa was on notice to provide her a “Rescue Pet Mobile” and, of course, a unicorn (apparently a must-have for preschoolers everywhere).
Cedar also had a “definite” present on her Christmas list — “A Gekko Mobile.” Raegan thought about the question for a second, and solemnly proclaimed her must-have present was “a basketball hoop.” In fact, if the Jolly One is in a generous mood, she has room for “two basketball hoops!”
With a quizzical look, Cedar asked rhetorically: “Does Santa hear you?” With a certainty that can’t be denied, Raegan answered: “He hears EVERYTHING!”
The interview turned to the needs of Santa’s four-legged helpers — his reindeers. The kids were asked: What treats do reindeers like?
Surrounded by little girls, Batman-loving Grifinn Hofmeister, 5, who until now was silent, excitedly exclaimed what he felt was an obvious choice. “They like candy canes!” It was an observation heartily seconded by Cedar: “Reindeers like candy canes because they are tasty!”
Kaitlin opted for a more traditional and organic choice for the flying reindeers: “Carrots!”
The youngsters were asked what, if any, presents they might have made for their parents (who are rumored to have a direct pipeline to Santa’s workshop).
It seems that, in this case, one kind fits all.
“An ornament … everyone made an ornament,” Grifinn reminded. ColleenFillingim, the preschool’s director, nodded and smiled.
And at least in Raegan’s house, those tiny gifts have already been presented to their parental recipients. “My mom and dad got an ornament and they put it on the tree.”
The children’s preschool director Colleen asked them a question that got to the heart of the reason for celebrating the holiday. “Why do we get presents at Christmas?” she asked. Grifinn was quick to answer. “Because it’s Jesus’s birthday.”
After their presents are unwrapped, their toys put through an initial test and a holiday dinner consumed, the preschoolers were asked what favorite Christmas movie their family might watch.
Not surprisingly, the modern classic “Home Alone” was the overwhelming favorite. In fact, Grifinn said his family had received a “great big package” that included TWO DVDs of the Macaulay Culkin movie.
Kaitlin, however, offered a different favorite. “I like ‘Butterbean.’” But when reminded that film presumably isn’t a holiday flick, she quickly substituted a venerable favorite — “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
And in a fitting end to the interview, the four offered an impromptu, a capella rendition of the song of the same name.
“Ruuu-dolphh the Red-Noooe-ssed Rein-deeer, had a very shin-eee nose!”
Merry Christmas, little ones! Santa has been duly notified.