Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Grinch Who Saved Christmas...Almost

It had become the recent custom in the town of Juniper Falls to erect Christmas decorations the day after Halloween. In previous times, people had waited at least until the day after Thanksgiving, but times had changed, and so had the attitude of the townsfolk. It all started when one well-meaning chap from the neighborhood decided, long before the season warranted it, to start decorating his home and place of business with Christmas lights. In the years that followed, his decorations became more and more elaborate until others began to imitate him. Eventually everyone in Juniper Falls began celebrating Christmas at the beginning of November.
On main street, one could observe a band of bright tinselly Christmas trees all the along the roadway. Up on the hanging electrical wires was a whole slew of gigantic slow flakes. From the giant trees hung large festive ornaments, sparkling red and blue. The shop windows were all alight with trains, gingerbread men, wooden soldiers, and snowmen. Surrounding each snowman was a veritable blizzard of substitute snow. Each home prided itself on having the best and most colorful display. People could hardly go anywhere without being assaulted by a dizzying array of colors. From life sized Crèches, to an army of waving Santa Clauses, the people could never seem to get enough. All day long they would sit and listen to nothing but their favorite Christmas songs and reminisce over their favorite Christmas memories. No one dared object to this marathon of good will, for no one wanted to be called a Señor Grumple Pants or a Grumplestillskin, as some in town liked to call stodgy old men.
One year, however, something terrible happened in the town that left its people greatly distressed. It was a mid-November night, and all was quiet in their houses, when a terrible figure (or monster if you prefer) blew into town like a shadow and made off with all of their beloved decorations. Those items that were not stolen, were either broken or destroyed by the bandit. Who could do something like this, they asked? What sort of barbarian could commit such a heinous crime? After much deliberation, they agreed it must be the work of some angry atheist, someone who never had a decent Christmas in their whole life; someone who's memory of the day was so completely corrupted that even the sight of happy things made them sad. As a result, many felt compassion for this terrible beast. Some even considered never putting up any seasonal displays again. Ultimately, they concluded it was best to continue to spread good cheer, and as a motivation, the people in town were compelled to greet everyone with the words; "Merry Christmas." But within a few days of this glorious restoration the interminable grump struck once again, managing to dampen the spirits of all the little boys and girls. This time even a life-sized model of the baby Jesus was taken out of a manger.
The people were crest-fallen, and decided, at least for this Christmas season, it was best to keep their celebration as low key as possible. So for fear of this bandit, the townsfolk celebrated very discretely and privately in their own homes, only occasionally wishing those on the street a very "Merry Christmas". It was a quieter December that year, but the people were not unhappy. In fact, they felt an even greater sense of anticipation and longing for the coming of the Christmas season. By the time Christmas rolled around they could stand it no longer. They said; "let that miserable atheist come and steal our ornaments away. What he cannot steal is our Christmas cheer." Whereas in previous years the people would have only celebrated up until Christmas day; this celebration, buoyed by a deep sense of anticipation, went well into the New Year.
Standing on the hillside overlooking the town was the Grinch, the monster, the beast, whatever you want to call him. Beside him was his anti-sleigh sleigh, still filled with many of the bright colored objects that he had removed from the town below. He was quite pleased with his performance and most edified by the effects of his iconoclasm... that is until word got back to him that the people in town had a plan more terrible than he could have previously imagined. Indeed, even worse than the idea of a radio station that plays only Christmas songs from November 1 to December 31st. This proposal came straight out of the bowels of his own private hell. You see, the Grump foolishly believed that once the people saw the virtue of implementing a season of anticipation, they would instantly turn from their wicked ways and reject that wretched spirit of instant gratification. How naive he was, to believe that parents would instantly recognize that gifts withheld for a time actually make their reception all the more pleasurable. How irrational to think that patience generally inspires (in the heart of the recipient) a greater sense of gratitude. In truth, his "lesson" had the reverse effect. Thanks to their overwhelming exuberance regarding this particular Christmas season, not only did they not discourage the custom of celebrating Christmas early, but rather they expanded it. They called it the Christmas Everyday Ordinances of 2005, declaring that the Christmas spirit should be extended throughout the year. As part of this new law, the town would be opening new businesses that dedicated themselves entirely to celebrating Christmas perpetually. Likewise, the law declared that security would be tightened in order to prevent the enemies of cheerfulness from doing their worst. Cameras were to be set up everywhere to prevent some Glum Gus from ruining their fun. And so the people of Juniper Falls journeyed blissfully towards a Nirvana of Christmas accoutrements. Ribbons and wrappings and endless toys marked the boundaries of this particular heaven.
Now whether or not this felicitous custom actually bore "heavenly” results is a matter for another debate, what I can tell you is that the people of Juniper Falls got everything that they asked for and more. High above it all was the Grump, staring downward at what seemed to him a barren wasteland of activity, paralyzed by the hellish prospect of celebrating Christmas every day.



  1. Wow. This is really good Sean. I mean I love Christmas music, but I guess I'm going to rethink it and hold off this Advent so that I can really really CELEBRATE Christmas. :) Thanks :)

  2. Excellent! The only gift worth having is the Joy that comes from Christ's presence in the world--a gift we all should share every day indeed!

    (but then of course the liturgical year has seasons of joy, penance etc. that I really should not like an ACTUAL Christmas everyday.)