The Grinch-alin Who Tried to Steal Christmas: How We Take It Back

ImageThere is a Dr. Seuss story about Christmas.  You all know it.   Frankly, it really is not my kids’ favorite. 

Who really wants to hear about a mean spirited goon who sweeps down upon a population pretending to BE Christmas, all the while stealing everything good about the real Christmas?  Probably not you… but I am going to talk about Sarah Palin anyway. 

I may mention that Grinch guy too, although, I think he has been usurped by Ms. Palin this year.  Their spiritual mind-meld makes me think of them as a single unit, the Grinch-alin.  There.  I put a name to it.

Yes, Sarah Palin is this year’s Grinch.  “I say in a very jolly Christmasy way: ‘Enough is enough!” she declared against stores like Walgreens who do not commercialize Christmas enough.  “I love the commercialization of Christmas!” she stated.  Her observation of Walgreens: “Walgreens’ 24-page nationwide circular used the word 36 times without one mention of Christmas” !

Walgreens seems to have a knack for not mentioning holiday names… any holiday.  Not even ones like Independence Day.  Here is their commercial for Easter, which they actually get through without mentioning the name “Easter”.

Walgreens has been completely consistent in their treatment of all holidays, secular as well as of any religion.  Who, is not consistent, is Palin.  Where is the protest on the “War on Easter”?  Why is she pro-Christmas, but apparently Easter apathetic? 

She claims she is not alone in her vendetta.  She has Thomas Jefferson on her side.

“He (Thomas Jefferson) would recognize those who would want to try to ignore that Jesus is the reason for the season, those who would want to try to abort Christ from Christmas,” she said.  The comment was a two-fer… a fictional Jefferson who was not only “anti-war-on-Christmas”, but also imagined to be anti-abortion.  I admit it.  I am fascinated on how she comes up with this stuff.

Most of the Grinch-alin comments are so close to self parody they actually seem pretty benign.  Walgreens does not seem to be losing sales. 

Palin’s book starts with a self-revelation that is truly heinous however.   It makes me want to keep her away from anything good, wholesome and decent.  It shows that the Grinch-alin is truly without a heart.

Last year, eleven days before Christmas a horror unfolded in Newtown Connecticut.  A gun man shot and killed six educators and twenty children.  The country was in shock and horror, and looking for answers. 

Palin gives an account of what was going on in her life as a reaction to these events:   “To combat the anti-gun chatter coming from Washington, I surprised him (Todd) with a nice, needed, powerful gun. I then asked him for a metal gun holder for my four-wheeler. Not only was this small act of civil disobedience fun, it allowed me to finally live out one of my favorite lines from a country song: “He’s got the rifle, I got the rack.”  As twenty six families were devastated and millions mourned, the Grinch-alin was open for business having fun with guns.

It is time to end this travesty.  It is time to stop humoring those who make a big deal out of the word “Christmas” but who gut it of all “peace on earth and goodwill towards humanity” meaning.  It is time to take back Christmas from not only those who commercialize it, but worse, for those who use it to sell crappy agenized political tomes.

I shared this plan last year—and I am sharing it again.  The plan to take back the real heart of Christmas:

1.  Share music.   Send music to people that you know they will love, whatever means possible.  My boyfriend sang out a beautiful rendition of “Silent Night” to his late mother on a video shot in front of our Christmas tree. He shared this love with his friends list, and emotionally moved many.

2.  Bake.   My sons and I, no great magicians in the kitchen, whip up our decorated slice-and-bakes and distribute them through the neighborhood. It is an excuse to embrace our neighbors and physical community, and the goodwill it produces lasts beyond the calories.

3. Create beauty.   Decorate, paint, design… whatever expression works for you.  In my family this year we painted ceramic Christmas village houses.  It was fun, it was imaginative and we ended up with pieces that will make us remember the love between us at that given place and time.

4.  Do something important for loved ones.   I am resolved to worry less about spending money on the ones I love, and doing things that may cost little, but are truly important.  Write a poem, frame that great picture together, buy them the used book you KNOW they will love.  I thought hard about this a few years ago as I pondered what to give my dad whom I adore, and who is getting up in years and won’t be with me much longer.  What can I do for a person like that?  As a dad myself, I used that perspective to think about what I would want from my own sons.  I constantly am trying to do things for them that they like and enjoy, but the thing that is illusive is which events really stick with them?  I decided that my dad may want to know that about me, so I wrote up my “Top 10 Most Memorable Moments” that I had spent with him in my life.  He teared and choked up as he read each one aloud to our family.  It was hands down the most important gift I had ever given to him, or anyone else for that matter.  The list now sits on his nightstand.  He reads it to himself every single night since I gave it to him.

5. Adopt people who you don’t know, but need you.  There are lots of charitable hands out this year, and I am not really talking about swiping a credit card so funds go to different non-profit funds.  Thirty years ago a piece called the “White Envelope” was published in Woman’s Day Magazine.  In that story, a woman does something significant for strangers, then shares about it to her family via a note placed on their tree.  It is their best family gift.

For those of us who are LGBTQ, we need to fill white envelopes on our trees for our children we have never met. 

There are the kids who have come out to their families and been kicked out of their family homes and are now living on the street.  What group of children needs love and Christmas more than they do?  What group of children is more ours?

If you think this group is a small or an insignificant one, think again.   Writer Cathy Kristofferson researched and wrote an important piece in which she paints an accurate and urgent portrait of the LGBT homeless teen.  Of the disproportionate rate she states, “Simple.  Youth who come out to their parents are rejected by those parents at a rate of 50%, with 26% immediately thrown out of the house to become instantly homeless and many following soon after as a result of the physical and verbal abuse that ensues after their declaration.  Empowered by the gains in equality and acceptance with the heightened visibility the adult gay community has welcomed of late, youth are emboldened to come out at ever-younger ages while still reliant on parents who are a flip of the coin away from rejecting them.  Simple factors of 4 tell the story of parental rejection and its effect on queer youth homelessness:

  • 2 out of 4 will be rejected by their parents when they come out
  • 1 out of 4 will be kicked out by their parents when they come out
  • 3 out of 4 homeless queer youth will say parent objections to their orientation led to their homelessness

Youth homelessness is bad enough on its own but being queer further compounds the difficulties.  Devastating statistics like 62% of queer homeless youth attempt suicide only begin to tell the story of the additional hardship endured when compared with their heterosexual counterparts.  Queer youth experiencing homelessness are:

  • 3 times more likely to commit suicide, and 8 times more likely due to parental rejection
  • 3 times more likely to turn to prostitution and survival sex
  • 6 times higher incidents of mental health and substance abuse issues
  • 7 times more likely to experience sexual violence at a much higher risk of victimization by rape, robbery and assault “

There are about 2800 of these kids in Los Angeles, 3000 in San Francisco, there are MORE than that in places like Salt Lake City, and close to 1000 in smaller cities like Detroit.  I admit, finding out what you can do for such kids in your personal community, and they are there, is a challenge.  It would be easy to ignore and walk away.  If the concept of a true LGBTQ Community is real however, these are OUR kids and we need to do what we can to help.  There are 300,000 to 400,000 of them that will be homeless this Christmas morning.  They are hurt, they are in danger, and they need us.

We can start by making them the White Envelopes on our trees, and we can end with making real differences.  Please give it some thought and take some action.  

We cannot change the Grinch-alin.  She will do what she will do on the public stage.  We don’t have to give her Christmas and everything for which it really stands.  No, instead, we can change lives, re-take Christmas, word and all, and make memories.

Happy holidays, merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year.


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About robw77

A single gay dad who cares. His story can be read here: and here:
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9 Responses to The Grinch-alin Who Tried to Steal Christmas: How We Take It Back

  1. Ray Kawamura says:

    I think it’s unfair to compare Sarah Palin to the Grinch. I mean, at least the Grinch learned from his mistakes, developed empathy, and his heart totally burst from that magnifying glass. Palin, on the other hand, is worse than even the Grinch when the story begins. Hell, she’s worse than Ebeneezer Scrooge was before he was visited by the ghosts.

    And yeah, there’s no need to put the “Christ” back in Christmas, because if someone is a Christian, then for them, it never should have left in the first place. If he’s not there, it says more about them than it does non Christians. I’m Pagan myself, and honestly, I have nothing against actual practising Christians who follow Christ’s teachings, but I have absolutely no time or patience for hypocrites like Palin, who pay lip service to their “faith” but do the opposite of what their savior teaches. Those people tend to belong to ultra conservative, fundamentalist churches who preach an extrabiblical prosperity gospel, a gospel not found in the new testament, and when those people claim to speak for Christ, it bothers me. I’m not a Christian, like I said, but I have a lot of respect for the Christ of the New Testament, and what he taught. I try to follow similar principals in my own life path. I don’t believe in hell, but if it exists, there’s a special place for people like Sarah Palin in it.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. It is something that *everyone* should read.

  3. Erica Cook says:

    I’m going to get a little crass, so I’m apologizing in advance. I’m still saying it because this time of year gets worse and worse every year. I’m not christian, but I feel as though I am forced against my will to be one, taking part in a holly day of another faith that is in no way holly any more and is in every way a mockery of what it was when it belonged to my faith. The pagan Yule was meant to be a time after the harvest came in and after people had doled out their limited resources to remind themselves that they were not just people of greed. In that spirit an all night vigil was done. On that night no one was turned away. If someone needed food they got food, if someone needed furs they got furs. It was a celebration of what was best in humanity. It was also a time to prove to the gods that the greed they had been portraying in the intention of hording food for winter wasn’t all they were. Flash forward to modern times and people kill store workers for some stupid trinket that will be obsolete in a yer. Peace on earth good will towards man my ass.

  4. #4 made me cry real tears. Took me by surprise. And I read the White Envelope story, and am crying as I write this. So, yes, I will give a White Envelope gift this year. And the year after that. And the year after that. Thank you, Rob, and bless you, for being a true Christmas light.

    • robw77 says:

      The white envelope practice has always meant a lot to me– in doing it to the letter, to doing it in principle. I did not develop it, per the link, but so happy to share its concept. Thanks so much for your comment!

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