I think I identify more with the Grinch now than I ever did as a kid. The live-action movie’s mushy backstory had nothing to do with it. The Grinch, I found, is a gestalt of our love/hate relationship with the Holiday season. Sure we sing along when the voice of Tony the Tiger belts out “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch”, but on some level we all root for him. While he does take all of the Whos’ stuff, he also steals all of the fire-hazard Christmas trees, all of the fruit-cakes, and all of the “Jingle-cats” CDs. In the same way that Godzilla found legions of fans by destroying crowded transit systems and soul-destroying sales offices, the Grinch entertains us by battling the Christmas monster every year.
Most Christmas stories deal with that conflict between crass commercialism and the true meaning of Christmas. If that meaning is “peace on earth and good will to men”, why haven’t we dispensed with the whole rowdiness aspect of Christmas? We’ve tried several times over the centuries, but it just hasn’t stuck. How can we progress as a species if we spend our money on inflatable snowman displays? Then again, why are we defining progress as a lack of inflatable snowman displays?
This year, Sara and I have been involved in no less than 5 Christmas related live shows either through our church or Sara’s school. On December 20th, we braved bad sushi and stifling crowds to go shopping in Metrotown mall. Why would two seemingly sane people go through with all of this? Is it because we owe some money to a perversely festive loan shark? Not a chance. There is a high that comes from all this Christmas rigmarole. “Peace on earth and good will to men” may seem like a simple concept, but it’s meaningless if it is not expressed. We all have a primal need to express ourselves at some point in our lives. Christmas allows us to do that by putting our best foot forward. People attempt things with decorations, cooking, and singing that they would never do at any other time of the year. We need the hustle and bustle to communicate with our fellow humans in the strongest terms possible: “Peace on earth and good will to men”
Every year Sara’s school has a contest to rewrite Christmas carols. Sara’s class won this year, so without further ado, here’s “I Want An A+ On My Report Card”
And also, we have last year’s Holiday hit featuring Sara’s maiden name, “Miss Antak the Tiny Teacher”