Why “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” is Iconic

The 2023 Holidays are over and about 5.6 million people between the ages of 2 and 49 watched How The Grinch Stole Christmas between November 30 and December 25, 23 years after its release. These ratings are lower than in 2022, so why exactly is this movie watched year after year? What makes it timeless and iconic?


The Grinch, a character created by Dr. Seuss and brought to life by Jim Carrey in the iconic film adaptation, stands out as a timeless narrative that delves into the essence of Christmas, the human condition, and the transformative power of love. The movie’s uniqueness lies in its ability to use humor and creativity to convey a message of love and kindness, making it a truly iconic holiday classic.


The Grinch’s storyline differs from the typical Christmas movie narrative, where the focus is often on saving the magic of Christmas and reviving the belief in Santa Claus. I believe one of the main reasons this movie is constantly rewatched and loved by many is due to its themes of loneliness, neglect, and the societal pressure associated with the holiday season. The Grinch, who is initially bitter and isolated, despises Christmas due to his childhood experiences of being neglected and growing up alone.


The film portrays the difference between the Grinch’s isolation with the Whos of Whoville, who, despite having their gifts and decorations stolen, come together in unity. Their response to adversity is a heartwarming reminder that the true spirit of Christmas lies in companionship and love with family and friends. This communal nature, often overlooked in the real world, adds a unique and beautiful touch to the narrative.


The Grinch resonates with audiences because it addresses a prevalent theme: loneliness. Many viewers can relate to feelings of neglect, whether from parents, society or by being disregarded at some point in their lives. The movie explores how childhood illusions can be commonly ignored, leading individuals to isolate themselves rather than seek connection or help. The Grinch’s preference for solitude stems from his upbringing, reminding us how it’s easier to be rude to others when the world has been rude to you, instead of confronting our feelings of rejection or displacement. As it is also easier to victimize ourselves constantly, blaming others for every unpleasant event we experience, instead of being on the outlook for future treasured moments. 


The film becomes a powerful portrayal of the impact of circumstances on people’s behavior. It emphasizes that individuals who carry anger, sadness, or depression within themselves are a product of their environment. The Grinch’s journey, from wanting to steal Christmas as an act of revenge rather than facing his demons, depicts the transformative nature of love and compassion.


Loneliness is portrayed as a common destructor amongst individuals, and love comes as the ultimate healer. The Grinch’s realization that he deserves love and support exposes his belief that isolation was never mandatory, but instead a self-imposed punishment. It reminds me of the quote- “Loneliness kills, Love heals”.


The film uses comedy and creativity to convey its message. It contrasts a character consumed by loneliness and anger with those open to receiving and sharing love and kindness. It also delves into how individuals can transform themselves and their future circumstances by working on negative thoughts and trying to see things from another lens.  


Towards the end of the film, the Whos of Whoville find joy in each other’s company despite the absence of material possessions. This scene exemplifies the idea that the true essence of Christmas lies in spending time with loved ones and appreciating their presence. The pressure to create the perfect holiday experience is dismantled and replaced by the importance of genuine connections.


Overall, during Christmas, maybe even during Hannukah, Quansah, Ramadan, etc., there is a lot of pressure to purchase the perfect gift or to make the perfect day ever, filled with constant ecstasy and energetic emotions, which in the end, is unsustainable and overwhelming. How the Grinch Stole Christmas teaches viewers how the main goal is to relish the importance of spending time with our family and loved ones, to value them, and to appreciate the time we can spend with them. Time passes by faster than we think, we usually assume Christmas will always be the same and, in the blink of an eye, everything has changed and we’re spending important Holidays with different people. Many people move away, others pass away, and at some point, we end up thinking about the past and how we should’ve embraced it more when we had it.  


Although Christmas is about celebrating Christ’s birth, nowadays many people are not as religious as a century ago. Now, Christmas is more about showing the appreciation and the care we have for our friends and family. For most of the year, especially as adults, we don’t show it as much as we did when we were kids. Each of us is focused on our adversities, living in different places and too busy to talk to our relatives and say, “I support you; I love you; I value you; I’m proud of you”. The Holidays are our opportunity to do so, even if it’s not verbally shown, even the company speaks it for us. 


The Grinch also serves as a reminder of the commercialization and societal expectations that often overshadow the true meaning of Christmas. The film advocates for a shift in focus, encouraging individuals to express love and appreciation for their family members during the festive season, acknowledging that time is a precious commodity.


Besides, the movie adapts perfectly to Dr. Seuss’s original spark: the marvelous illustrations that evoke endearment and the original ingenious and fun metric of the dialogue. It preserves Seuss’s unique style. And Jim Carrey’s interpretation contributes immensely to its success through his goofy and sympathetic gestures.


The Grinch is iconic not only for its source material by Dr. Seuss but also for its ability to convey a profound message through humor, creativity, and compelling storytelling. It transcends the typical Christmas movie narrative, addressing themes of loneliness, love, and the transformative power of compassion. The film’s popularity can be attributed to its universal message that resonates with audiences, making it a timeless classic that continues to captivate hearts each holiday season.


USTVDB. (2024). How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Ratings. USTVDB. Available in https://ustvdb.com/networks/nbc/shows/how-the-grinch-stole-christmas/

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