One year, I watched How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2003 Jim Carey version) every single day of December until Christmas. It’s my favorite Christmas movie of all time, and I get excited every time it’s on Freeform’s 25 Days of Christmas. I’m a Grinchophile if you will.
This year, as I embarked on my first Grinch watching experience of the season (homemade peppermint mocha in my favorite Christmas mug, plaid PJs, and setting up my Christmas tree), I noticed a lot more than how cute Cindy Lou Who is and how oddly relatable the Grinch is.
The Grinch might be the most culturally relevant Christmas movie of 2018.
I know, you’re probably thinking I’m crazy. “What about Love Actually?!” “Um, Elf?” Of course, I love pretty much every Christmas movie (except A Christmas Story 2… not sure what that was). The Grinch, however, tackles so many issues that we’re dealing with today, and it’s pretty easy to miss it.
I know Dr. Suess had a deeper intention in creating The Grinch aside from entertainment, but there is a lot more to the movie than one might think. Now, all we need is a sequel because I really want to see more of the Grinch and Martha May Whovier’s love.
Issues of waste and the environment
There’s a very obvious theme of overbuying for Christmas in the film, but the Grinch understands waste above all else. At the beginning of the film, he notes that it’s “crazy what those Whos will throw away.” After the Whobilation, the Grinch says that everything the Whos buy their friends and family for Christmas ends up in the landfill he lives in.
By the end of the movie, the Whos start to understand that they focused too much on buying gifts for their family and friends rather than spending time with them for Christmas. While this is a small portion of the film, it definitely looks at how much waste we produce, especially in terms of overbuying and focusing on gifts as the main aspect of Christmas.
Loneliness during the holidays
As much as he doesn’t want to admit it, the Grinch is very lonely in his lair away from Whoville. He talks to himself, comes down to Whoville to be around the people, and asks Max for his “sedative” to get rid of “those pesky memories” the day before Christmas. (Isn’t this supposed to be for children?!).
Not everyone has friends or family to celebrate with during the holiday season, even though this is supposed to be the most magical time of the year. People also might have traumatic or sad memories around this time. This can lead to a lot of loneliness and sadness, and people who don’t experience this might not always understand. The Grinch really showcases this, and it’s such a good reminder to be there for the people you love during this time.
Augustus Maywho is the #WOAT. The way he treats the Grinch both when they were children, as well as in adulthood, is unacceptable, and the film shines a light on what this can do for people who experience it. The Grinch was bullied during Christmas, so he has a negative outlook on Christmas as a whole because of it.
Not to mention, the mayor humiliates Cindy Lou Who after the Grinch takes the presents. (What a jerk!). The film highlights how mean the Whos are to the Grinch and how it’s affected him throughout his life. I’d suggest discussing this aspect of the film with everyone you watch it with, especially children!
Respecting people’s differences
Cindy Lou Who, on the other hand, is the #GOAT. She takes a chance on the Grinch when everyone else had ostracized him from their society. She is there for him when no one else is. She even invites him to the Whobilation and nominates him as the Holiday Cheermeister! Cindy stops focusing on how the Grinch is different from everyone else and starts focusing on how similar he is to the rest of the Whos. She wants everyone to be together at Christmastime, including the Grinch.
Cindy is definitely onto something, and I think we could all be a little more welcoming to others’ differences, particularly during the holidays.
Finding joy after hardship
The Whobilation wasn’t necessarily a positive experience for the Grinch, and then he goes on to, you know, steal Christmas and all. However, he comes around, his heart grows to its normal size, and he finds happiness in Christmastime. He sees how happy the Whos are, even without presents and trees and feasts, and he joins them in celebration.
Yeah, Grinch went off the deep end a little bit, but he comes around. If you’re dealing with something, you, too, can come back from it.