Well, in Whoville they say
that the grinch's small heart
grew three sizes that day.
And then the true meaning of Christmas came through,
and the grinch found the strength of ten grinches,
The 1966 cartoon version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas is my all-time favorite Christmas special. I know last year I gave Heat Miser and Snow Miser the prize for "most entertaining," but this cute little cartoon about the Grinch is a masterpiece.
How much do I love this cartoon? Let me count the ways: (1) the fun poetry of it, read to perfection by Boris Karloff, (2) the humor and nonsense, beautifully captured in fanciful drawings, (3) the fabulous You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch as well as other delightful songs.
Plus this special has a very merry Christmas message for me and all of my not-quite-Christian friends who like to celebrate Christmas:
And he puzzled and puzzed till his puzzler was sore,
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...
See? Christmas isn't just an orgy of consumerism -- it means more than that.
The cartoon makes it very clear. Christmas is all about joy of celebrating and sharing traditions from one generation to the next.
It's easy to get disgusted with Christmas. It's this ever-escalating festival of gorging oneself, and then -- like some sort of penance for all the gorging -- getting reminded that you're supposed to be thinking about Jesus. But if Jesus were really the true meaning of Christmas, the clergy wouldn't have to keep reminding people of it. And if you believe in the standard model -- either Christmas is consumerism or it's Jesus -- then you've missed the warm and simple reason why the mid-winter festival of lights has been such a beloved and enduring tradion across so many different centuries and cultures.
So -- to my theist and atheist friends who celebrate Christmas as I do -- Merry Christmas!!!
And for all the other holidays you're celebrating this holiday season: Happy Holidays!!!
Be sure to share and pass along whichever holiday traditions you loved as a kid: decorating, singing, preparing holiday treats, etc. And feel free to join me in one of my favorite holiday traditions: watching The Grinch.