Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Don’t Let the Grinch Steal Your Christmas!

Grinch-like characters are often the center of holiday stories. Often these grumpy characters find some redemptive quality that changes his/her perspective on Christmas as well as mankind. The original Grinch was from the lively imagination of Dr. Seuss and was first published in the 1956 children's book How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The 1966 animated special is a long standing tradition in many households; a show that brought us the classic Christmas song, "You’re a mean one Mr. Grinch." In 2000, Ron Howard directed a full length feature film version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas starring Jim Carrey as the Grinch.

The Whos in Whoville didn’t let the Grinch steal their Christmas. They showed the Grinch that “Christmas doesn't come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more....” You can celebrate “Grinchmas” with 25 days of doing good deeds. There are many fun ideas at Home for the Who-lidays. Maybe your heart will “grow three sizes”.

The Grinch wasn’t the original grouchy character in a Christmas story. Who can forget the ever familiar “Bah Humbug!” uttered by Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens? Many sources credit the Dickens tale with reviving the Christmas spirit through generosity and family celebrations. It is also credited with making the phrase “Merry Christmas” popular. In A Christmas Carol, Scrooge also had a life changing experience after visits from three Christmas spirits. He goes from “Bah Humbug!” to “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. “― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol.

You might start the tradition of reading a version of this tale to the family as you snuggle down in your new Christmas pajamas. Or your whole family can enjoy Jonathan Winters as he brings the characters to life in the NPR production on CD.


Many versions of The Christmas Carol are also available on film. Some try to stay true to the Dickens story. Such as:

A Christmas Carol (1951)

A Christmas Carol (1938)

A Christmas Carol (1999)

Christmas Carol: the Movie (2001)

Less traditional but fun movie adaptations are can also be found.

Mickey's Christmas Carol

The Smurfs. A Christmas Carol

A Flintstones Christmas Carol

A Sesame Street Christmas Carol

Thomas' Christmas Carol

Not only did Jim Carrey play that “mean one Mr. Grinch” but he also played the miserly Scrooge in Disney’s 2009 version of The Christmas Carol.

A Christmas Carol (2010)
If you are a mystery lover, a fun twist on Dickens tale can be found in Leslie Meier’s book, Christmas Carol Murder: a Lucy Stone Mystery

The one exception to a character changing for the better was Mr. Potter in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. This 1946 Christmas classic was based off the short story "The Greatest Gift: A Christmas Tale" by Philip Van Doren Stern. Mr. Potter never seems to change his hard heart. But he couldn’t keep a good guy like George Baily down. When George Bailey, the main character, falls on hard times he needs reminded that “Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?” – Clarence (the angel)

James Stewart, the down to earth actor, was a natural to portray George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life. Another natural fit was “girl next door” actress, Donna Reed portraying his wife Mary. Lionel Barrymore, who had portrayed Mr. Scrooge on a radio broadcast, portrayed believable villain, Mr. Potter. Lovers of this movie might be surprised to find that it was not initially a box office success. It has since become a staple in many households during the Christmas season with yearly airings on TV. You and your family might enjoy the 60th anniversary DVD that has special features including “The Making of It’s a Wonderful Life” 

Children might enjoy the picture book with a slightly different tale. George and Mary Baileys son Tommy gets some help from Arthur, an angel in training in It's a Wonderful Life for Kids

You can find the TV airing times and dates for How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life as well as many of your favorite Christmas movies and shows at Countdown Until Christmas.

If you want to snuggle up with a good book check out Goodreads' Christmas book lists for an extensive list of Christmas books for all ages. Then bring your Christmas book wish list to the library.

“And it was always said of him (Scrooge), that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us.” – Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol