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Scrooge, A Grinch And A Girl

Our family has a Christmas tradition. I felt I had to impose it the year after we watched Highlander on Christmas Eve and there was talk of making it an annual tradition. Highlander our Christmas movie? Over my dead body. Obviously it was a situation headed out of control, so I stepped in a did what moms are supposed to do: took control.

I’m happy to say now our Christmas family movie is Scrooge, the musical starring Albert Finney. My family has come to terms with this tradition (although every year, someone fondly recalls the Christmas we watched Highlander). I think they’re even beginning to look forward to Scrooge. I heard S² humming “Thank you very much” yesterday.

Scrooge has always had a special place in my heart, the Grinch, too.  As I lay in bed a few nights ago, pondering metaphysics, God, and man I naturally began to think of those two great characters of classic literature.

Yes, they each have an experience that shatters their existence and makes them realize they can never go back to life as it used to be. But the fact that they don’t want that life back is what makes them so interesting. Unfortunately, my late night ponderings don’t stop there. I begin to wonder what happens to the Grinch and Scrooge after Christmas.

grinch 2

Perhaps the Grinch moves to a small  Scandanavian-style chalet at the edge of Whoville. Cindy Lou Who stops by for a visit. She and Max romp around filling the air with giggles and whatever noise dogs make when they’re having fun. The Grinch’s big baby blue eyes crinkle as he smiles. The next day after Cindy Lou has been there for an hour, the Grinch finds himself on the front porch with his Grinch fingers nervously drumming. By the end of the month, he is hiding under his bed, leaving Cindy Lou and the other little Whos pounding mercilessly on his front door. His wide blue eyes are getting squintier and squintier. But the Grinch doesn’t want to go back to his old ways.

As for Scrooge, he spends Christmas partying at his nephew’s home. The next day, unused to such frolicking, he sleeps in for the first time in decades. He drags himself from bed just in time for dinner and heads over to the Cratchit’s to check on Tiny Tim and inveigle a dinner invitation. The Cratchit’s are overjoyed to see him. At first his free and liberally shared advice are welcome, but when he tries to improve upon Mrs. Cratchit’s plum pudding things get a little tense.

Scrooge can really party.

Scrooge can really party.

Okay, I know you’re wondering where I get the chutzpah to speculate on the behavior of such beloved characters. And yet I feel qualified to such speculation because Scrooge, the Grinch and I have a lot in common. We each tend (to put it mildly) towards grinchiness but we each desire to change. This desire is precipitated by events that affected each one of us so deeply we realize we can’t continue living as we did.

The event that changed my life happened over seventeen years ago, but it has influenced my life every day since. In itself, it is about the most mundane and unmemorable thing you could imagine. We were driving in our van (on Nineteen Mile Road, two-thirds of the way between Dequindre and Ryan Road, for the Michiganders among you). Suddenly my mind was filled with a sudden blinding revelation: God. This is very difficult to write because there are absolutely no words to describe it—a feeling, an intuition, an awareness, understanding, pure unadulterated joy. Nope. None of these come close. I’m not asking you to understand or even believe me.  Quite frankly, it’s not something you can experience just from reading my words (even if I could find some). What’s important here is the fact that this experience was so true and real to me that it changed my life.

I knew God was real. How cool (again, words can’t quite do it, so cool will have to do.) And I decided that I was going to change; I was going to always be good. Not because God demanded it, or because I wanted His approval, but because I loved Him and I wanted to be good for Him. And for myself. I hadn’t realized how unhappy I was until I was surprised by joy.

I floated on a cloud for a few days. But reality (the reality of myself) set in when I had to drive somewhere. I tried SO hard to be good and kind to the other drivers. But there were so many “idiots” on the road, my resolve crumbled. In fact, not only did I revert to my old self, I was worse than I usually was. What the heck was wrong with me? I did not want to behave this way.

But I learned, as I’m sure the Grinch and Scrooge would have if they were real, that a lifetime is a hard habit to break and bad is so much easier than good. But bad habits, even a lifetime of them, can be broken no matter how long it takes. For me, it’s possible with God’s help.

It would be possible for the Grinch and Scrooge, too. I think the Grinch would have moved to a secluded cabin in the woods, visiting the Who’s every week for some good times and a dinner of roast beast. Eventually, he’d begin inviting the Who’s to his cabin for a day of cross-country skiing and an evening of s’mores and cocoa in front of a blazing fire. As for Scrooge, he could have become a very successful business consultant (they weren’t called that back then) and philanthropist. Maybe he’d fall for a jolly widow and they’d live happily ever after.

As for me, I try to take one day at a time. As long as I don’t have to watch Highlander on Christmas…

Highlander, the perfect Christmas movie?

Highlander, the perfect Christmas movie?

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11 comments on “Scrooge, A Grinch And A Girl

  1. There is nothing wrong with watching Highlander on Christmas… although I think I agree that I wouldn’t make a tradition out of it haha I always watch White Christmas as my holiday movie mostly because I love it, but partly because I really don’t like most other Christmas movies. Don’t mind Christmas at all but the incessant cheer and all that drives me a bit nuts, hearing ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’ 3 times in one visit to the store is too much to me. I would be hiding under the bed with the Grinch for sure.

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  2. You don’t post often, Dawne, but when you do, I know I’ll never be disappointed. This was fascinating. You’re such a good writer–weaving the Grinch, Scrooge, God, you, life, change, and the hard work of living all together in one cohesive exploration that is deeply personal but relevant to the human condition, and profound. Wow.

    I never thought about what happened to these characters after “The End.” Thanks for stretching the boundaries of my metaphysical imagination.

    Isn’t it ironic that change seems so difficult, yet life is nothing but constant change that we work so hard to resist? ;) Think about that one!

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  3. I’ve never seen Highlander, but there are a few classics we make sure to watch at least once every year. I love National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, of course, and Rudolph with the Bumble is a mainstay. The words to the Grinch song? My favorite ;)

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    • Last weekend we watched A Christmas Story for the first time in a few years. It is a great movie if you don’t watch it 5 million times during the A Christmas Story marathons.

      I still crack up every time the duck’s head gets chopped off.

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  4. HIGHLANDER is must-see TV whenever it is on! I would watch it any day of the week regardless of holiday. There are so many iconic lines to be recited and great actors/characters like Sean Connery/Ramirez, Clancy Brown/Kurgan, Roxanne Hart/Brenda and even Christopher Lambert/Connor MacLeod was pretty damn good. The countryside of Scotland and the authentic castle ruins were elemental and we have to mention the epic Queen soundtrack. (“Who wants to live for-evvvvah!) But I digress.

    Scrooge and that Dickens tale have never really done much for me. Perhaps it is the many incarnations, though I must admit I didn’t mind the George C. Scott version. The Grinch on the other hand is an all-time classic because of Boris Karloff’s magical voice and the persevering dog.

    Others like Rudolph, Charlie Brown, Frosty and even A Christmas Story are all much better to me than Scrooge. (I mean, I still crack up at the scenes in A Christmas Story when the dad gets the lamp delivered and reads “Fra-gee-lay”!)

    At the same time, I am cognizant that a major factor is who one watches these with and that adds to the holiday spirit in them. All the animated ones remind me of my youth and how much my brother and me enjoyed Christmas. The Highlander was also one of our favorite movies in the 80s and since I graduated high school a year before it was released, that lends a certain “independent” air since I was no longer forced to attend high school any more, much like Connor living off the Scottish countryside.

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    • You make a good point. For me, lot of these movies even A Christmas Carol are very nostalgic. Christmas was always the best time of year growing up; my parents really got into it..

      And now I’ll paraphrase Scrooge, “You keep Christmas in your way, and I’ll keep in mine.” Then everyone will have a merry day.

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  5. You can’t beat a bit of Scrooge, so I’m glad your sticking up for . As for your revelation and subsequent behaviour. We all stumble. Its having the faith to get up again that matters more, and you do

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