The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season! Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.” These are two lines from the 1957 book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! which introduced millions of children to one of Dr. Seuss’ most famous characters, the Grinch.
A vile plan
In the story the Grinch lives in isolation, in a home overlooking the town of Whoville. Unlike the Whos who live in Whoville, the Grinch hates Christmas, and so he formulates a plan to destroy it. On Christmas Eve, he disguises himself as Santa Claus, and that night while the Whos are sleeping, he breaks into their homes and steals all their Christmas presents and decorations.
On Christmas morning, however, the Grinch is shocked to hear the Whos of Whoville rejoicing, and he realises that there’s more to Christmas than material goods and decorative details. He returns everything to the Whos, and celebrates Christmas with them that year —and presumably every year after that.
An iconic character
Despite his transformation in the story, the Grinch is typically represented as a character who hates Christmas, similar to the character of Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge was created over a hundred years earlier by the British author Charles Dickens, who introduced him to the world through his 1843 novella A Christmas Carol.
The Grinch has been the subject of TV series, films and musical theatre. Notable among them are the 2000 live-action film starring Jim Carrey and the 2018 computer-animated film featuring the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch. The Grinch is often depicted on Christmas memorabilia, he had even inspired a range of ugly green sweaters, which make for funny Christmas presents.
As famous as the Grinch is his American creator, Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904-1991), who wrote under the pseudonym Dr. Seuss. Although Dr. Seuss worked as an illustrator, a political cartoonist and a filmmaker, he is best known as a children’s author. He illustrated and wrote more than sixty children’s books, all in rhymed verse, and introduced the world to many other iconic characters, including the Cat in the Hat, and Horton the Elephant. By the time Dr. Seuss died, over six hundred million copies of his books had been sold, and they had been translated into more than twenty different languages. Dr. Seuss has become as iconic as his most famous characters and continues to inspire and delight children all around the world.