Let the Singing Begin

It was an unusual interview. The woman explained she was writing an article for a national magazine on clever ways to put more joy into the holidays.

So I proceeded to pitch to her one marvelous holiday cost-cutting idea after another. And one after another, my ideas landed with a thud. She didn’t like them at all. That’s when she made a comment that effectively brought the interview to a screeching halt.

She called me a grinch.


Some rights reserved by Sarah_Ackerman

Now she didn’t actually come right out and say, “You Grinch!” She suggested my ideas would take all the fun and joy out of the season. She assured me it was nothing personal but still, she called me a grinch.

Not being one who can easily let things go, I had to find out if what she suggested about me was in any way true. In my zeal to encourage people to take back control of Christmas from the locked jaws of commercialism, had I taken on a striking resemblance to that holiday grump, the Grinch?

I was quite certain I knew where to find out. And sure enough, right there on the shelf between Horton Hears a Who and Hunches in Bunches I found it—that familiar bright red storybook: How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

“The Grinch hated Christmas. The whole Christmas season! Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.”

The Grinch an ornery old soul with a heart two sizes too small—detests the holiday celebrations down in Who-ville. He hates the singing, the celebrating—all that noise, noise, noise, noise! So he devises a great Grinchy trick to get rid of Christmas forever. He steals all the presents, the ribbons, the wrappings; the tags, and the tinsel, the trimmings—the trappings!

He hauls all the loot to the top of Mt. Crumpit where in a huge fit of glee he proceeds to—you guessed it—dump it!

There! His task is complete. He’s taken care of Christmas once and for all. All the noise of the fun, all the joy and the love—even the smallest hint of the season is gone forever.

But what’s that sound? It’s not sobbing, but singing! The Whos began celebrating with no presents at all. The Grinch couldn’t stop it, Christmas came just the same. It came without packages, boxes and bags.

I sat there recalling why I love this story so much. And I admit it, I felt delightfully smug. That writer was way off base. I’m not the grinch in her story. I didn’t steal the joy. Her grinches are consumerism, overindulgence and overdoing—the attitudes that insist Christmas is something we can find in a store, mail order catalog or the Internet.

If you’ve noticed the joy of the season is missing from your life maybe those grinches are to blame. Maybe it’s time to let them know they’ve lost their power.

Authentic joy comes not from all the outside trappings, but from our hearts; from the story of the birth of a small baby who would become our Savior—from that love, that can fill our lives with giddy joy.

So let the singing begin!

QUESTION: What is your plan to overcome your Christmas grinches? Let’s share ideas here

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Caught yourself reading all the way 'til the end? Why not share with a friend.

24 replies
  1. Raine Wells
    Raine Wells says:

    When my husband went on disability, our christmas was really tough. We went to church and everybody was talking about their gifts and we felt left out. So, we decided that the circle of envy could be stopped if we started listening to one another. Instead of buying gifts for their shock value to show we loved each other, we listen carefully all year and at Christmas, we pick a comment that will show we were paying attention. In 2012, at some point, I said I missed having a white Christmas. So my Husband and Son went behind our local ice skating rink and shoveled the ice scrapings and made me a snow video. It is silly and I really enjoyed it.
    I hope everyone had a wonderful and peaceful holiday.

  2. Nana Lois
    Nana Lois says:

    I am the grandmother and all my kids and grandkids gather at my house one day around Christmas. (They have their own Christmas at home). We have decided against buying gifts. Noone can afford it and I am relieved of the stress that Christmas used to cause me. The house is cheerfully decorated and the fireplace is going. All the teenagers are welcome to bring dates. We have a wonderful dinner and conversation. Everyone has brought a wrapped gift of who knows what (like white elephant). After we open or steal our gift from someone (as the game goes) each person has to get up and give a sales pitch about all the things the item can be used for – or if you love it – play it down. People get very creative and funny. Everyone has fun and everyone goes home with something. Many of them trade things when game is over. We have dessert and a great family time has been had by all.

  3. Grama D
    Grama D says:

    My dear husband passed away shortly before Christmas 2010 and 1 mo. before our 3rd anniversary. The holidays will never be the same again, but I want to continue to celebrate with family the birth of the greatest gift of all, Jesus, who was born, died and rose again for my sins. We are beginning a new tradition of giving a family gift, a special picture, game etc. Santa has never been part of my Christmas’-no room for that when you know the true story of Christmas. Time together, cooking together, doing a puzzle or game will have much more lasting memories than piles of gifts that will be forgotten by next year. And of course, programs and music at church and home!

  4. jan
    jan says:

    Yes, let the singing begin. My husband & I have lived in our own home, new neighborhoodfor exactly 1 yr. I am inviting a few friends in to go caroling down our street. I remember my mother taking me caroling when I was a child. I believe this tradition should be brought back to life. It will not only bring joy to me but to my neighbors as well. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  5. handengravergirl
    handengravergirl says:

    I adore Mary Hunt. And have for nine wonderful, insightful and delightful years. I carry her in my pocket, keep her in my wallet, and hold her in my thoughts when ever I take care of financial duties. (I was about to write: “deal with finances”, but through Mary Hunt, I have shifted my perspective on money to respect and not fear.)
    Thanks to all of you out there who share your amazingly creative and yet so “common sense” ideas. I have committed to memory many of them, and had great chortles over other clever suggestions. All of y’all, together with Mary Hunt, make my everyday financial decisions a personal happy challenge and success.
    I am not wealthy, but I have a job that I love and children who understand the value of money MUCH more than I ever did at their age ~ thanks to Cheapskate Monthly, DPL, and Everyday Cheapskate.

  6. June
    June says:

    My grandkids and I packed shoebokes full of small toys, hair dodads, socks, coloring books & crayons, etc for Christmas Child as we did last year. They picked put the items in a dollar store for a girl and boy their age, and my daughter helped wrap the boxes with wrapping paper and paid the shipping charges. We took them to be dropped off locally in a warehouse and saw the Piles of presents going out to children in Africa and Asia.
    We discussed that Jesus had three presents and that was enough for Him. It is more blessed to give…
    All in all, a family tradition in the making.

  7. cp007
    cp007 says:

    I hope that reporter went and looked at that movie again too. My nephews love opening gifts, and sometimes there are way too many, I think. But after having a Christmas treat-making party with all of them one year, they ask me every year when we will have another one. They don’t ask me when or what toy I’m going to get them, they prefer the experiences instead.

  8. Kellee Rayburn
    Kellee Rayburn says:

    I loved your post! I am working on simplifying the holidays by making my focus family time. My daughter is 3 and she loves sparkling Christmas lights and all of the mechanical decorations. Just driving through neighborhoods and looking at beautiful Christmas decorations is a wonderful, free treat! We even go to stores like Menard’s that have large Christmas displays in the store, just to look at all of the decorations. She also really likes cooking with mommy, so we’ll be making Christmas cookies to share with the neighbors!

  9. PastorSings
    PastorSings says:

    This was such a great post that I linked to it from my blog, hope you don’t mind! My post ends: “Please don’t feel guilty about taking advantage of great savings today on things you really want or need. Just remember that Jesus doesn’t really care how much you pay or how trendy your gift is. All Jesus wants for Christmas is you.”

  10. A Farmgirl at Heart!
    A Farmgirl at Heart! says:

    By sharing with family and friends what Thanksgiving and Christmas means to me helps them to understand that exchanging non-essential, unwanted retail pushed gifts are not the most important aspect of the holiday get-togethers. I am not a grinch, thoughtful gifts will be given especially for the children in our family.

  11. Laura Schochler
    Laura Schochler says:

    I make most of the gifts we give. This year I’m using one of Mary Hunt’s ideas & giving journals with questions to several people in the family. I’m hoping these family members will answer the questions & share their journals in the future. Thank you Mary for the great idea which is fairly inexpensive but will mean so much.

  12. debra
    debra says:

    Mary you are so right the birth our saviour is the reason for the season! People who spend loads of money are the true grinches! I am so glad I found you!

  13. Melissa in Indiana
    Melissa in Indiana says:

    I agree with you 1000%! It’s too much about how much we spend on gifts, and too little about making the gifts we give more meaningful. My biggest joy at Christmas time is getting out the things that the kids have made for me each year, even if it’s a drawing or something else that cost next to nothing to make. I have decided to do something personalized for each person on our list instead of spending too much money on something they may or may not appreciate or use anyway. If they don’t like it it’s their loss, and I hope that some day they will learn to appreciate the small things instead of just the expensive ones.

  14. hergy
    hergy says:

    What a beautiful way to express the true joy of Christmas. Thank you so much Mary, for all the ways you encourage and inspire us! Merry Christmas to you!

  15. Rich
    Rich says:

    I don’t know if this qualifies, but we give things our family members need, not things that we are told by ads, displays, etc. that we should be shelling out hard cash for. ‘New and improved’ are words that do not move us. Another non-starter is ‘bigger and better’. All those glossy advertisments that come in the Sunday newspapers go directly to the recycle stack unread. When all other gift ideas are used up, a contribution to the grandchildren’s college fund works for us.

  16. Wendy -VB
    Wendy -VB says:

    What a wonderful post! Thanx so much for all you do to make our spirits bright in what can be a very dark season for no reason at all but the dark grinches you described that have no power to bring Light into the world. amen

  17. Danielle
    Danielle says:

    Wonderful Post! The title really resonates with me (pun intended) because Christmas music is one of my favorite, free ways to celebrate the season. My kids are still preschool – and – under, so we are starting now to make Christmas about experiences rather than stuff. That means lots of family trips to light displays, parades, tree trimming, hot cocoa drinking, and most importantly, singing!

  18. Lolly232
    Lolly232 says:

    My 6 year old granddaughter comes over and we’ll make Christmas treats. Some will go to shut-ins. Doing things for others who cannot repay is one of the biggest blessings I know. Definitely lifts the spirits.

  19. lab1281
    lab1281 says:

    I am insisting that my husband go with me to do the Christmas shopping. I have resented being the one to do all the work,shopping, wrapping and decorating. I want him to start working on this as well so that I have the energy and the spirit left to enjoy Christmas. I gave my children and husband a short list of questions so that I can determine what they really want and or need. I am also making the kids buy and deliver a present to a child in need. They are very fortunate and I want them to remember that Christmas is the joy found in caring.

  20. Miss JD
    Miss JD says:

    THANK YOUR for reminding me to breathe and to enjoy the season without too much unneeded regalia! Jesus is the reason for the season! Celebrate it with family and friends!

  21. Grace
    Grace says:

    I buy gifts from the thrift store. The books are in beautiful shape, some are brand new and my grandchildren love them. I find things at those places that none of the department stores have and we have a good time. I go all year to those place and feel like the richest person in the world. I may be called a tight wad but I can survive another month without big bills from Christmas.

  22. Deborah Bernacchia
    Deborah Bernacchia says:

    I have a planned budget that will consist of one nice gift for each family member. No more thousands of presents that the kids unwrap in seconds and then look for more. We’re going to spend the afternoon watching old videos that we’ve made together recreating different fairytales it’s great fun~


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *