by Erin Gaines
Red, yellow and orange leaves fall gently to the ground in the breeze. Chilly weather brings out the sweaters and the boots. Even rotting jack-o-lanterns after Halloween never seem to dull the love for pumpkin spice. Soon to come will be turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce and all the pumpkin pie we could eat.
The month of November is brimming with fall. Among all the things we think about, November doesn’t usually conjure visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads. But 15 years ago, director Ron Howard brought Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” to life, and it topped the box office Nov. 19, 2000.
After appearances in colorful print and the television, the Grinch made the leap to the big screen. This live-action adaptation brings snowflake-size Whoville to life. From the citizens in town to the Grinch’s cave atop the high peak of Mt. Crumpit, everyone in Whoville knows Christmas is right around the corner.
The story begins with Cindy Lou Who, who is not excited for the impending holiday. While everyone is out bustling around, decorating and shopping, Cindy Lou is at the post office with her father. Taking some mail to the back room affords her the opportunity to come face to face with Whoville’s very own Grinch.
If anyone hates Christmas, it’s the Grinch. Cynical and grumpy, the Grinch is causing mayhem in the mail room, switching up people’s letters and hoping to wreak havoc on everyones merry holiday season.
No one has seen the Grinch in years; it comes as no shock that the Grinch frightens Cindy Lou, causing her to fall into the letter sorting machine. Based on every Who’s idea of the Grinch, he should have left Cindy Lou, but he chooses to save her.
The Grinch sparked Cindy Lou’s curiosity just as the Mayor is ready to announce the Who-bilation, at which the town nominates a Holiday Cheer Meister. Who else would Cindy Lou consider nominating other than the Grinch himself?
Convinced to leave his mountain hideaway at the promise of an award presented by Margaret May-Who, the Grinch’s childhood crush, the Who-bilation can begin. The celebration takes a turn for the worse, leaving the Grinch to retreat to Mt. Crumpit and hating Christmas more than ever.
To ease his hatred of the holidays, the Grinch decides to take it away from everyone else. He dresses as Santa and goes house to house, stealing everything Christmas-related from the townspeople.
All of Whoville is saddened by the turn of events, and the Mayor blames the whole thing on Cindy Lou. But Christmas isn’t about presents, it’s about being with the people you love. Everyone starts singing and it’s exactly the happy ending everyone wants.
But wait, there’s more! With all the presents on the sled, and Cindy Lou, too, the Grinch stops them from falling from the peak of the mountain (in the most dramatic way possible) so he can return Christmas to all of Whoville.
Sure, it seems a little cliché, but it is based on a kids book. And we can’t forget that “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is exactly the kind of feel-good film everyone needs. It’s for the kids and for the adults whose Grinch was a cartoon character, circa 1966.
A lot of us probably have someone in our lives who never seems to be in the Christmas spirit. For them, shopping for Christmas presents is a chore. Decorating the house is never on the to-do list. And you can just forget about Christmas caroling.
No one can force our beloved Scrooge-like friends and acquaintances into loving the holidays. Not every Grinch needs to have his heart grow three times its size in one day. We get constant reminders through the holidays to “remember the reason for the season,” but that isn’t easy with Frosty the Snowman looming over us, asking us to buy this, that and the other.
Retail has taken every opportunity to gain a monopoly on the holiday season. There are sales on top of the holiday sales, and we can’t forget the sales that come next to them and underneath them. It’s practically snowing sales during the holidays.
Even then, it just wasn’t enough. With the rise of the technological age, we clearly need to have Cyber Monday as well.
Imagine every holiday-loathing person’s sheer delight at the fact that the holidays come almost two months in advance in retail. As soon as Halloween is over, everyone needs to make way for candy canes, holly, tinsel, pine branches, mistletoe, egg nog, Frosty the Snowman, bells, reindeer, caroling, Santa, presents, red and green paper everywhere…
Even if Christmas is one of your favorite times of the year, that might be a little much to handle all at once. It’s not even Black Friday yet!
Maybe during the holidays, we want Christmas carols.
Maybe we need a little tinsel and holly.
Maybe we’re in love with the Christmas lights people hang on their houses and the blow up snow globes in front yards.
Categories: Volume 97 Issue 4 A&E