If You Hate Christmas, It’s Because You’re Green … or maybe Blue!

By Charlotte Filippone

Cred­it: kmisal

We’ve all watched the movie, and we’ve all agreed on the same sto­ry: he’s the buz­zkill, the bad guy try­ing to ruin Christ­mas. But what if the Grinch was actu­al­ly just depressed?

I know you might think it’s a bit far-fetched, so let me give you some facts that’ll prove my point. First, he’s cooped up in a bleak cave. Also, self-loathing and hate­ful speech are the only lan­guages he knows, and social inter­ac­tion makes his skin crawl. Add a grain of trau­mat­ic expe­ri­ences to the mix, and there you have a per­fect recipe for depression.

It must be dif­fi­cult to see the mean, grumpy vil­lain in a dif­fer­ent light and sym­pa­thize with him, so let’s try to find out where it all comes from.

The Grinch is an orphan who was aban­doned at birth. At school, he nev­er real­ly fit in, and because of his Whoville-non­con­form­ing appear­ance, he was picked on and bul­lied by his class­mates. Only Martha May didn’t make fun of him, and that was enough for lit­tle Grinch to become smit­ten. When he final­ly worked up the courage to give her a Christ­mas gift and shaved his beard to win her over, the out­come was ruinous: he was laughed at and humil­i­at­ed in front of every­body. Once again. That was the straw that broke the reindeer’s back – the moment in which the Grinch switched off his feel­ings and turned into the mis­chie­vous, brazen-faced, hol­i­day-wreck­ing crea­ture we all know.

In spite of it all, he doesn’t tru­ly hate Christ­mas. Christ­mas is sim­ply the metaphor for the part of him­self that got hurt. Yet, if you still don’t see where I’m com­ing from, let me enlight­en you.

He secludes him­self ‘far from the mer­ry crowd’ on Mount Crumpit because he can’t bear the pain of rejec­tion, and although he tries to mask it with loathe and sar­don­ic humor, the pain doesn’t wash away. His trade­mark – irri­tabil­i­ty – sky­rock­ets as every­body is gear­ing up for the most won­der­ful time of the year. It’s as if he feels left out of the bub­ble of hap­pi­ness every­body else seems to be liv­ing in. And what does he do to ruin everybody’s Christ­mas spir­it? He takes out his grumpi­ness on Whoville and steals all the presents to keep Christ­mas from com­ing. It’s obvi­ous­ly a pro­jec­tion of his jeal­ousy toward their joy­ful­ness. The rea­son why he puts his back into mak­ing peo­ple feel mis­er­able is because he him­self is mis­er­able. It’s a sub­tle, con­cealed cry for love. Way to turn the nar­ra­tive around, huh?

So before you com­plain again about the grouchy fam­i­ly mem­ber killing the Christ­mas vibe, try cut­ting them some slack – beneath the sur­face, they might be wrestling with some deep­er strug­gles. Just like the Grinch.

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Char­lotte Fil­ip­pone, 20, is an Ital­ian stu­dent of mod­ern cul­tures and lan­guages, cur­rent­ly spend­ing her last bach­e­lor year at Leuphana Uni­ver­si­ty Lüneb­urg. Addi­tion­al­ly, she has a keen inter­est in phi­los­o­phy. Among her favorite ways to blow off steam are stay­ing in con­tact with nature – either hik­ing or run­ning – and cook­ing for her family.