How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)

| All Ages 
Cautions: some spiritual confusion

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas is an imperfect but still definitely enjoyable holiday classic, requiring a little bit of mental editing to be its most valuable for Christian viewers, but not being so distinctly off kilter that Christian viewers should fear having to forsake this rhyming, nonsensical Christmas tradition. Because of the ambiguity surrounding The Grinch’s moral statements, parental guidance is suggested for younger children.

1966 | Chuck Jones, Ben Washam | 26 min

Some Spiritual Confusion
At the end of the story, the Grinch has a change of heart and “the true meaning of Christmas came through.” This is not tied, directly or indirectly, to the celebration of the Incarnation of Christ. There is sufficient vagueness about the situation to allow individual viewers to mentally insert the idea that the Grinch realized the truth of the gospel (which he must have heard before the story begins), but How the Grinch Stole Christmas is not, on its own, a story of redemption. As it stands, the movie may imply that rejecting materialism and embracing the joy of community were what saved the Grinch.

Song lyrics include the lines “Christmas day is in our grasp, as long as we have hands to clasp,” and “Christmas day will always be, just as long as we have we,” which appear to hint that Christmas is synonymous with family, friends and neighbors.

The narrator, explaining the title character’s change of heart, describes the realization that “maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more,” than presents. However, the line is a literary device, not an actual statement about the meaning of Christmas relative to gifts.

Characters gather around a Christmas tree in the center of the village, hold hands and begin singing. They are, however, singing about Christmas in general, and not the tree in particular.

The Grinch impersonates Santa Claus, though Santa is never implied to actually exist.

A song calls an evil character “the king of sinful sots.”

Much of the vocabulary in the movie is nonsense words.

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