Robert Kirby: To Christmas — thanks for the memories, be they happy, sad, painful ...

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Robert Kirby

Ugh. I’m glad that’s over. Christmas itself wasn’t that bad, but the windup was. And now that it’s officially done, I’m more than ready to get past it.

Well, not all of it. I want to hang on to memories of my grandchildren opening their presents. That was enjoyable and considerably less violent now that they’ve grown up.

When they were all younger, Christmas morning gift opening contained all the decorum of a pack of hyenas noticing a zebra with a limp.

The Big Day this year was confusing. It didn’t help that most of the gifts were complete mysteries to Grammy and Papa. We had no clue what they did or were for.

I got a snowblower for Christmas. Bought it for myself at RC Willey from Warren, who didn’t bother explaining how it worked because we both came up in the Shovel Age. We learned about snowblowers as soon as they were invented.

We’re beyond that now. Most of the gifts my grandkids received hadn’t even been considered possible much less invented during our time.

On Christmas morning, my youngest grandson, Tate, got a virtual reality game. He showed me how it worked.

I strapped on the visor and took the hand controls. Suddenly, an alternate reality appeared. Things flew through the air or sneaked up behind me. I couldn’t grab them. A strange creature wanted to dance with me. Utterly disorienting.

Tate • “You didn’t have these when you were a teenager, did you, Papa?

Me • “Oh, hell yes. We called them hallucinogens, and … ”

My daughter • “Dad!”

Ada, our youngest granddaughter, is 5. She got a large blond doll for Christmas. She brought it to me and asked if I would give “Annie” a kiss. When I leaned forward, Ada made Annie crack me across the face.

Me • “Ow!”

Ada • “Annie is a secret agent. She knows karate. Want to see her kick you in the knee?”

The oldest granddaughters wanted cash, which they got because then they don’t have to worry about hurting our feelings by returning the gifts we thought they might like. Makes sense. Wish I had thought of that when I was their age. My grandparents were still sending me pajamas that didn’t fit and Tinker Toys when I was in high school.

The truth is you can’t make people have a great Christmas if they aren’t in the mood for it. You just do the best you can and hope they at least come away with good memories.

When this year’s looting was done, everyone reminisced about favorite past Christmases. Most of them were when the family was all together, but there were memorable presents as well.

“The one when we got a dog.”

“The Christmas we shot cannons.”

“The time we went to Canada.”

Eventually, they started making fun of their grandparents’ age, saying that Grammy’s favorite Christmas was probably when she got a stove that didn’t burn wood, or a motorized washing machine.

They insisted that my favorite Christmas was almost certainly when I blew up an outhouse or something. After all, back in the “olden days,” Christmas had to be boring compared to the stuff under the trees today. I told them we still managed to make it exciting.

Granddaughter • “What was your favorite Christmas, Papa.”

Me • “When Santa brought Grammy a bunch of see-through ... ”

My wife • “Robert!”

Christmas is relative. Eventually, it’s all about memories. The best ones aren’t because you spent a lot. They’re mostly about whom you spent it with.

Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.