My fingernails still carry splashes of color.

The nail polish, once so meticulously applied by six-year-old Pearl, is now worn and chipped. I hope the memory stays as vivid as this awful color. Note to self: Before agreeing to a free manicure always have plenty of nail polish remover on hand.

When I finally do get around to scrubbing the polish off, it will be the last physical reminders of our dress-up tea party and our short time together.

Pearl requested, immediately upon arrival, that we have a tea party. Although she was only three at the time, apparently we had one the last time she came for a visit, which she remembers astonishingly well. So we spent a few hours painting nails, rolling hair and trying on gowns and dresses.

Yes gowns– little girl tea parties are a formal affair, in case you didn’t know.

Without realizing it I created a tradition. Apparently, in my granddaughter’s mind, going to my house is synonymous with going to a tea party. Traditions can crop up without realizing it when you’re dealing with children. The kid that can’t remember to brush his teeth every night will remember that hot chocolate you made three years ago. Moms may hate that, but that really works in grandparents’ favor.

This week I was reminded of a tradition that I started when my children were young, then, somewhere along the way I lost it. It was really just as much for me, as it was for the children.

Every year (at least for several years) I would hunt down the best Children’s Christmas book I could find. It had to have a great story, and even better artwork. Not your usual Santa stuff. I always found something that I enjoyed reading as much as the kids loved listening to. The idea was to collect these treasures over the years. Then, when my children are grown I would have a wonderful collection of Christmas stories to pull out each year and share with the grandchildren.

Somewhere along the line, I dropped the ball. All but a few books are left. So this year, I’m starting over.

So, I thought I would share a few of my old favorites.