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Extra, Extra! Christmas Stolen – Grinch Exonerated!

by Fred First

Granted, his methods were nefarious the year he stole Christmas. But his tiny heart secretly was—and is—in the right place. He relented in the end, and returned the Roast Beast, the pandookas and tartookas. He let Cindy Lou Who have her Christmas in Whoville, after all.

It just might be that his intention was not to steal Christmas to do away with all the fliffer bloofs and wuzzle wuzz, but to show the misguided Whos that it was not about things, after all.

And what you may not know is that His Despicable Greenness is only one in a vast army of seasonally-afflicted beings, pink and brown, great and small—who are of a state of mind and heart that reaches back many generations, continuing right up to our day. The resisters’ Giftmas discomfort is strong and their numbers are growing.

Not because their hearts are two sizes too small do they refuse to become Santa’s little robotic shoppers. Composed of Christians and unchurched alike, this throng longs for a special time in December that is not as unnatural as an aluminum tree sprayed with toxic snow. They look for ways, short of another Winter Heist, to keep the good and real of it, and cast off the counterfeit and increasingly oppressive expectations of this particular Winter Tsunami of Stuff and Fluff.

Who are these rebellious Grinchlings and why do they grumble and rumble and fret instead of mindlessly beating their blumbloopas and whamming their whowonkas like good Whos should do?

Considerations of date and original intent of Christmas aside (see it is the vast global seasonal-industrial complex built up around Santa—his legions of box-store elves and digital assistants, and his enormous bag of toys and not-so-goodies—that most grieves these resistors.

For as long as there has been a nativity celebration, it has, to one degree or another, opened the floodgates to increasing caloric and material consumption, and thus to enormous profits that have morphed the manger into a lucrative global treasure chest.

In recognition of the cash cow that Christmas shopping had become, Congress in 1941, officially moved Thanksgiving back a week to allow another seven days of spending. Our heaping shopping carts of mostly-unnecessary stuff between Black Friday and Dec. 25now bring in as much income in the US as the gross national product of Ireland.

Among other concerns, today’s anti-Festivus underground is increasingly put off by the pervasive holiday music—a two-month brain-worm multi-media cluster bomb that mashes up the sacred and secular, stirring the cloying and smarmy and glorious into an acoustic mantra, guiding us to that last widget we can perch high atop our heaping cart with just one more reflexive swiping of the magic plastic wand.

Do you hear what I hear? It is the epiphany of the New Advent! “Let’s give thanks to the Lord above, ‘cause Santa Claus is coming tonight!” Parumpapumpum and a partridge in a pear tree. The wrappings of Christmas have become the reason for the season. That can change, the Grenchlings say, and each of us can play a part.

“Every Who down in Whoville, the tall and the small,

Was singing without any presents at all!

He hadn’t stopped Christmas from coming! It came!

Somehow or other, it came just the same!”

Here are some of the Grinch’s thoughts on how we might yet reboot Christmas:

Find peace and joy in stepping back all year long from slavery to stuff and consumer debt. On December 25, celebrate your blessings with family and friends, thankful for the marvels of this planet and each other, a thanksgiving wider and deeper than what we forget so quickly from a frenzy of tissue and cardboard under an aluminum conifer.

What if you asked your gifters this year to bypass you, who have enough of enough stuff and fluff, and give needed and beautiful things, from local goods and creations, to those in your community truly in need?

Spread your generosity and love, especially but not only this time of year, far beyond the bounds of kin and friends and those like you, to find room in the inn for a hurting world of strangers. Grow your hearts by two sizes or more, for good!

And if the Grinch could find this true, perhaps there’s hope for Whoville, too!

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