I was convinced that Christmas was going to be ruined. We found out with one week to go that our two oldest children couldn’t make it home. Their new jobs, and starving college student budgets led them to the decision to stay put and earn all the $ holiday hours working that they could get. So for the first time in 23 years I didn’t have my whole family at home with me. My heart was heavy and tight. I felt like the Grinch.
My inspiration for Christmas I found in a magazine. It made me nervous, yet I was eager to try. My husband and I have long felt that experiences are what you remember and not gifts. So every year our Christmas has a different theme… Disney, Danish, Pioneer, Give-Away, etc. This year’s theme was, ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas!’ So I became the Grinch.
We forced our children to set through the classic cartoon version a few days before and both my husband and I read the story to our younger girls a couple of times during the month of December. Christmas Eve came with the accustomed Pajama’s and Ornaments.
Would have loved Grinch PJ’s, but the stores were all out. We were able to get the kids different Grinch Character Ornaments.
Christmas Eve was fantastically traditional as we sat through readings of the Nativity and ‘The Cremation of Sam Magee?’ And why that poem is traditional is an entirely different post.
The kids helped put out their stockings, label their chairs, and leave a treat for Santa and his reindeer.
Our Home felt Magical.
Then the kids when to bed and the Grinch came to visit.
So when the kids arose Christmas morning they found everything Christmas gone. EVERYTHING! Including our outdoor lights.
They were not too happy.
They let us know they were not liking this experience.
But Hope was Not Entirely Lost! They found 7 bags and this note by the fireplace.
To: The Who’s named FawnDear’s Herd
He stuffed Christmas in bags. Oh, that Grinch, very nimbly, stuffed all the bags, one by one, up your chimbley! He took every present you wrapped up with glee. And yes, he himself, took your Christmas tree! You must help him to realize that Christmas means more, than presents, and wrappings and things from a store. Let’s help his small heart to not be so darn tight, by giving some cheer to some homeless in plight. So off to Seattle, you must travel right now. I know you are asking, what, who, when, and HOW? Find seven poor people whose budgets are tight, and give them a bag full of goodies they’ll like. That ought to do it, his heart will grow quick. Scurry back home, and you may meet St. Nick.
In the bags we found chap stick, gloves, McDonalds gift cards, A Candy Cane, Chocolate Santa, tissue and a Picture of Christ. To the bags we added hand warmers, bottled water and a fresh orange. Then we left for Seattle.
Here is where nerves kicked in. I was nervous, I’m a lousy judge of people, and my thoughts drifted to all the horrible new stories you seldom hear on the news. What would we find, how would people react?
I was shocked by how many homeless there were. Bundled up in Sleeping bags, blankets and tarps. Within minutes our bags were gone. And even those we didn’t have enough for wished us a Merry Christmas and God’s blessing. They were so grateful for our meager little bags. Our hearts all grew! Little 8 year old Hope said, “We should do this every year and not because of the Grinch. We should just do it because.” I agreed with her.
All too soon our trip was done as we headed back to our empty home. And you know if that was the end of my day I felt richly blessed, but it wasn’t.
Back at home we found our Christmas Activity Elves on the couch with another letter that read.’
‘Thank you for thinking of other poor folks. See it wasn’t that hard, and you didn’t choke. You shared your hearts, found some Christmas Love… brought Holiday cheer and blessings from above. The Grinch’s heart grew and your holiday’s back. But the Sneak, hid those goodies he stuffed in his sack. In the back yard, look by the gate, for he left part of his load there, for Goodness Sake! Your gifts to each other that were covered with bows, are hidden in baskets under some clothes. The presents from Santa are somewhere quite warm, near the furnace, don’t worry – They came to no harm. Under the porch three items are near, a Manger of Straw, and two white reindeer. Someone strong like the Grinch should be able to shift, two bookcases near the window to find some more gifts. Merry Christmas.
So Christmas came back. The kids loved searching for all the places that the Grinch hid their presents. We were finding them well into the evening.
And when the neighbor boy stopped by to play in the afternoon. Guess what? My girls didn’t regale him with what Santa brought for Christmas. Instead they told him about their amazing experience with The Grinch.
And to make it a near perfect Christmas we Skyped with my boys! I love the Grinch.