Everything I need to know about Christmas, I learned from the Grinch

Holiday season is upon us, and with it comes numerous sources of stress:

  • The search for the perfect gift.
  • The pressure to throw the perfect party.
  • Worries about whether long-simmering family tensions will boil over at the dinner table.

Instead of Norman Rockwell scenes of snow-dusted bliss, my dad, the retired cop, tells blood-curdling stories of domestic scenes on Christmas (and Mother’s Day) — family members forced to spend the day together erupting in violence over trivial offenses, like who took the last pork chop.

So let us turn for wisdom from the unlikely hero, the Grinch who stole Christmas. Thanks to that leftie Dr. Seuss, we have this villian who despises many of the trappings that stress us out the most — the gifts, the food, the decorations — and yet the ever-resiliant denizans of Whoville wake up and celebrate anyway.

It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags!

And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: How could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages, boxes or bags!
And he puzzled three hours, `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!

Imagine you’re in Whoville. You wake up Christmas morning to find your tree and gifts gone, your refrigerator cleaned out.

Would you still have what mattered? Your family, your friends, whatever it is that makes the holidays special to you?

As I’m panicking a bit about not having a single idea of what to get my dad for Christmas, or running around the apartment fussing over details before a holiday party, I like to hold that image in my head. Because really, if I invited friends over and just had takeout pizza and beer, I’m reasonably sure they’d still have a good time, and if I didn’t buy my dad a single thing for Christmas, he’d still be happy we were visiting.

Maybe you could hum the Grinch song to yourself as you wrap presents to remember that anti-materialist lesson?

What stresses you the most about the holidays? What’s the worst that would happen if you didn’t do that thing at all — if you didn’t cook the perfect meal or buy a great gift for the hard-to-buy-for person on your list?

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Categories: home and family

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2 replies

  1. Getting from a to b to c to d, then back to b, then back to a. That stresses me out. Worst case scenario: storm makes us stay put. Not too bad.

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