Why Did the Grinch Hate Christmas?

Updated June 8, 2021
the Grinch poses with Max the Dog

There are a ton of reasons why people love Christmas: the family togetherness, the food, the giving and receiving of gifts, the snow...which leads many people to wonder - why did the Grinch hate Christmas? In fact, not only did he hate the Christmas season, he hated it so much that he was compelled to terrorize the entire Christmas-loving town of Whoville on Christmas Eve.

He's a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

While it seems unlikely, there are some people who're unfamiliar with the story of the Grinch. This green and fuzzy, monster-like curmudgeon was born out of Dr. Suess' inventive storytelling in the mid-century. As the story goes, the Grinch lives on a cliff overlooking the fictional town of Whoville. He doesn't like the Whos because they are always happy, always smiling, and frequently sing. Despite his general lack of cheer, the Grinch has become a beloved part of the Christmas holidays, with nonfestive people often being referred to as 'Grinches.'

Why the Grinch Hated Christmas

According to Theodor Geisel's 1957 children's story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, no one really knows the reason behind why the Grinch hates Christmas, although the narrator has a few guesses:

  • He had shoes that were too tight.
  • His head wasn't screwed on right.
  • His heart was two sizes too small, with this reason being the most likely of all.

The Grinch's Christmas Exploits

A character created in the vein of Ebenezer Scrooge, the bright green and surly creature has become notorious for one thing, and one thing only - his hatred of Christmas. Fed up with the holiday spirit and the celebratory Whos, one Christmas season, Grinch decided to dress up as Santa Claus and steal the town's Christmas cheer. While disguised as Santa Claus, he:

  • Took away the Whos' presents
  • Stole their holiday decorations
  • Pilfered all the food from their refrigerators to spoil the Christmas feast (even the Christmas roast beast).

The Grinch's Story Continues in Film

In the 2000 live-action film adaptation of the story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Grinch's backstory is given much greater depth, with his childhood being extensively explored. The viewer learns that the Grinch hasn't always lived on his rocky overlook but once resided among the Whos in Whoville. Many of them teased and bullied him as a child because of his different appearance, and it was this continued bullying that led him to hate to the Whos and all of Whoville.

In the film, a young Cindy Lou Who brings the Grinch down from his solitude to participate in the town's pre-Christmas activities. However, he gets fed up with the Whos' obsession with decorations and presents and the festive atmosphere sparks memories from his youth of his time spent in the town to come flooding back. Just as he was beginning to enjoy Christmas, the reasons for his distaste of the season reared their ugly heads. Yet, even this tale isn't spared a happy ending.

How the Grinch Came to Love Christmas

Thankfully, the Grinch's hatred of Christmas isn't enough to overtake the joy of the season within each adaptation, and the reader/viewer quickly learns the true lesson of the story - Christmas is about sharing in the festivities with the ones you love and care about the most. Just as the Grinch's two-sizes-too-small heart grows three sizes on Christmas day, the residents of Whoville also find it within themselves to forgive the Grinch for his miserable actions. In fact, the Grinch is so overcome with this realization about the true meaning of Christmas that he returns to Whoville and gives all the Whos all the presents and decorations that he stole from them, and then proceeds to spend the holiday in their community. He even gets the immense honor of carving the "roast beast" at Christmas dinner.

Time Is the Greatest Gift of All

The Grinch serves as a brightlycolored allegory for both children and adults to be reminded about the real meaning behind the winter holiday that comes at the close of every year. While you can get a lot of joy out of giving and receiving physical gifts, the greatest and most precious gift of all is getting to spend time with those you love. So, next time you get caught up in the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, think about the Grinch and the true meaning of Christmas.

Why Did the Grinch Hate Christmas?