St. Stephen’s Day

Now that the presents are unwrapped we can all take a deep breath and turn our attention to more important matters: the annual Grinch Report.

Every year during the month of December, journalists take to branding evil-doers with the Grinch label. I’ve pointed out here that the Grinch analogy is not merely lazy, but stupid.

Here’s why: if someone steals your Christmas presents and keeps them, they are not like the Grinch. If the gifts are later returned after a life-changing turn of heart, then yes, that is Grinch-like.

A small sample of current stories:

Bah, humbug: Grinch steals Iowa family’s gifts

Cherokee Co. Family Says ‘Grinch’ Stole Their Presents

Police hunt Grinch of a crook after Christmas crime spree

Grinch steals Christmas for Lancaster family

Grinch steals Tampa children’s presents, family dog

There’s another thing that sets real life crime stories apart from How the Grinch Who Stole Christmas: it’s very hard among the hundreds of Grinch tales — and believe me, there are hundreds — to find a single Grinch victim who takes their loss is stride, like the fine citizens of Whoville.

The Grinch railed against the excess of Christmas, and in the end learned a valuable lesson. The Whos, understanding the true meaning of the holiday, didn’t care that all their crap had been stolen. It’s a beautiful book — but maybe next year we could use a few more stories about people behaving like the Whos, and a few less about the Grinch.

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