We all know the cartoon character created by Dr. Seuss known as the Grinch. He stars in the book, holiday special, movie and now musical How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The Grinch heads to Whoville with a purpose. His intent is to cause mischief and sabotage the holiday for the Whos that are joyful. The Grinch’s only “friend” is his pet dog Max, who is a big-eyed dog that is semi-loyal to his owner. Max wants no part in the Grinch’s foul play, although is forced to wear makeshift antlers and pull a sleigh as he and his owner masquerade as Santa and his reindeer.
Ah yes “You’re a mean one Mr. Grinch," and the word “Grinch” is synonymous with the word “grouch,” someone who shows disdain for something wholesome. As I go on with my day-to-day business during the holiday season, which seems to grow in length every year, I feel like the grouchy Grinch because I am not seeing much wholesomeness within the holiday. Simple tasks can turn into holiday insanity; traffic, parking, packed stores, rude people, sales that run from 3AM-5AM, the ungodly amount of outdoor decorations, fa...la, la, la, la, la ,la, la...LAAAA. Have many really lost the true meanings of the holidays or am I just bitter?
Grinch: That's what it's all about, isn't it? That's what it's always been ABOUT! Gifts, gifts ...gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts! You wanna know what happens to your gifts? They all come to me. In your garbage. You see what I'm saying? In your GARBAGE! I could hang myself with all the bad Christmas neckties I found at the dump. And the avarice ... THE AVARICE NEVER ENDS! “I want golf clubs. I want diamonds. I want a pony so I can ride it twice, get bored and sell it to make glue!” Look, I don't wanna make waves, but this whole Christmas season is STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!
As a child I never really caught that the Grinch was saying all of this despite watching the holiday special year after year. Now I am more aware that Dr. Seuss helps illustrate how the media markets the holidays as a time for hyper consumption. I am not as old or “wise” as the Grinch, but I find myself with a dose of Christmas doubt. I am not complaining about the holiday music, the joy or the merriment, nor do I want to stop Christmas. I would like to see a Christmas that celebrates the gifts of life, family and friends and not the gifts of money. I am not deneying that I have been lead astray and wrapped up in unwrapping present after present, although I am feeling like is time for a change.
Narrator: Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small, was singing! Without any presents at all! He hadn’t stopped Christmas from coming! It Came! Somehow or other, it came just the same! It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags! Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! ‘Maybe Christmas,’ he thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store.’ Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.
After removing all signs of the holiday from Whoville the Grinch waits, watches and listens. The Grinch learns that Christmas transcends the presents. He believed that if the Whos situation worsened then joy would be absent and to his surprise the Whos gather and sing with glee anyway. The true holiday spirit lives within their hearts and continues to regardless of the circumstances. Joy isn't a season and it isn't only for those that have everything, but rather for all the people. We all have our "Grinches" inside of us or in our lives, but in reality they cannot snatch the true joy that the angel told the shepherds about. Not to go all religious on you, but Christmas is not about keeping up with the Joneses, rather it is about the celebration of the birth of Christ. I hope to keep all this in the forefront of my mind as I navigate not only this holiday season, but all the days that follow.