I’ve told this story before. If you’ve heard it, I apologize for repeating myself. This is one of my favorite holiday stories and it’s become something of a tradition to repost it this time of year.
When my oldest daughter was almost 3, we read Dr. Seuss’s “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” nightly in the days leading up to Christmas.
It’s a lovely tale and in a weird way I identify a lot with The Grinch. (Long story and you can’t just open the book of my life and jump in the middle as someone once said.)
She’d curl up beside me and I’d read: “Every Who down in Who-ville liked Christmas a lot….”
And I’d do different intonations for the different voices. I’m particularly proud of the way I read “And they’re hanging their stockings!” he snarled with a sneer. “Tomorrow is Christmas it’s practically here!”
She’d follow as The Grinch unveils his plans to ruin the Christmas of the Whos (sort of like Bill O’Reilly and his ilk today).
He disguises himself as Santa and his dog as a reindeer.
And he steals into the Whos homes and takes everything leaving only the hooks and wires on the bare walls.
But to his surprise the Whos remain happy despite the loss of the presents and trees and trimmings and trappings.
As he says, he hadn’t stopped Christmas from coming, it came just the same.
So on Christmas morning when my oldest was almost three, we woke just ahead of her.
She first ran to the kitchen table and looked at the evidence of Santa’s visitation: the cookie crumbs on the plate and the empty milk glass and the missing carrots.
Then she ran down the hall into the living room. Ms. Carnacki, pregnant with our second child, and I beamed because our daughter had been so wide eyed and excited at the thought that Santa himself had been in our home. She ran into the living room and saw the presents under the tree and we expected her to dive into them.
But she didn’t. She held up her little hand and she said: “Stop. Let’s pretend. Let’s pretend The Grinch has been here and took everything and left just hooks and wires and we’d still be happy.”
So we stopped. And like The Grinch my heart grew three sizes that day.
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