Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more!

That quote came back to me as I was sitting outside, in one of five lined up lawn chairs (makeshift theatre seating) alongside other family audience members as we eagerly awaited the performance that was soon to begin. My four- and six-year-old granddaughters, Sloan, and Saylor had worked all afternoon preparing a holiday extravaganza for us. Collectively, we struggled to keep a straight face as they perched themselves back-to-back on a bench in front of their audience and Saylor began beatboxing. I had no idea she even knew what beatboxing was! Next, Sloan joined in and began to sing, “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch, you really are a heel.” The rest of the words were mostly unrecognizable, but she did sing loudly for all to hear, and her animated choreography was on point! There were many starts and stops during the performance as they perfected their craft, and eventually we did make our stealth exits, but my heart was full.
Then from across the yard, I heard the cries of my three grandsons, two three-year-olds, Ollie and Connor, and five-year-old, Declan. “Nana, come bounce with us on the trampoline.” My wise self said, “I don’t think that sounds like a good idea,” but my inner child said, “do it, make those memories.” Of course, the inner child’s words were the ones I listened to. Off went my shoes and I climbed onto the trampoline. Within minutes I was on all fours, as I became a roaring lion on the prowl for sock covered toes to munch. There was much chasing and giggling and once again my heart, which I thought was already filled to capacity, filled a bit more.
Next, it was time for all six cousins to exchange their Christmas gifts. One cousin was missing, which meant one of the present cousins was not going to be receiving a gift that day. When that realization hit, there were understandably copious quantities of tears from Grinch singing, Sloan. As she lay sobbing against her mom, her brother Ollie, ran to the kitchen, got her a sweet treat (it was also cookie baking day, so they were plenteous), and came back holding it on a plate. He said, “Here, Sloanie, this will make you feel better.” There may or may not have been tears stinging my eyes at his thoughtful gesture as my heart once again expanded (Sloan’s mom did quickly wrap a present for her to open so she didn’t feel left out).
As we played, bounced, hugged, baked, laughed, and sang, I paused multiple times throughout the day to look around at my incredible family, my incredible life, and a different movie quote seemed befitting for the day. It is found in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It happened when the Grinch finally realized the true meaning of Christmas. When Christmas still came to Whoville, even after he took their packages, their decorations, and even the roast beast! “Maybe Christmas he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” He finally understood, as did I, several times during my visit, that the joy of Christmas doesn’t come from what we have, but from spending time with those we love. Just like the Grinch, I am fairly certain that my heart grew three sizes that day!
For “Christmas Day will always be, just as long, as we have, we! Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart, and hand in hand!”-Dr. Seuss.
May you and yours have a blessed Christmas and a happy New Year!
Rhonda S. Kelley, Executive Director, Juniata River Valley Chamber of Commerce