Copyright © 1998 Henrietta W. Hay
Grinching at Christmas
December 18, 1998
"The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason...
But I think that the most likely reason at all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small."
As often happens at this time of year, the Grinch and I have a lot in
common. And I am not alone. My friend the philosopher is better known
as my friend the Grinch during December. She grew up with Dr. Seuss
and tends to identify with his characters.
I have often wondered about the Grinch's opposite, our old buddy Santa
Claus. For such an old man he is utterly amazing. There are 2 billion
children in the world, but since Santa doesn't traditionally handle
Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children, that reduces the work load
to about 378 million. At 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8
million homes. One presumes there is at one least one good child in
Now Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the
different time zones. That works out to 822.6 visits per second, which
gives him roughly 1/1000 of a second to park, hope out of the sleigh,
jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, have his milk and cookies,
get back up the chimney, hop in the sleigh and move on to the next
house, or across an ocean or whatever.
As today's younger generation would say, "Awesome."
All those speedy thoughts should have jump started my Christmas spirit,
but no such luck, so I headed out to the toy stores for my annual toy
Several years ago, under the deep influence of the Grinch, I created my
Annual Awful Taste in Toys Award. I think the first one, awarded in
1992, may never be surpassed in bad taste. It was the Jesus doll which
offended the religious and irreligious equally. Lest you have
forgotten, He was washable and wore His heart on His tunic!
One year it went to the "Mommy is having a baby" doll. The little girl
(of course a little girl) could open mommy's stomach and pull out a
baby. On the box it said, "Help mommy have a baby again and again." In
addition to sending questionable anatomical information and making it
sound oh, so easy, one does wonder what Mommy had to say about it.
This year's "big item" toy is Furby, but by the time I hit the stores,
all the locally available Furbies were presumably safely hidden away in
closets waiting for Christmas morning.
But there is always Barbie - unfortunately - all 11 1'2 inches of her
with a female figure never seen in nature. At the age of 39,
Barbie's dimensions are still exactly the same as they have been through
the years. By one estimate, a woman with her proportions would stand
6'2" with a 26 inch waist and a 44 inch chest. By some superhuman
miracle of marketing and imagination, Barbie is now playing pro
The sight of Barbie in a Bulls uniform sent me screaming from the store.
In addition to the 29 Barbies, each one wearing the uniform of a
different NBA team, there are three WNBA players. Now I am a great fan
of women's pro basketball, and seeing it mistreated in this way makes
this year's Barbie the winner of my "Awful Taste in Toys Award."
There is poor Barbie with her top heavy figure, not a muscle anywhere,
huge hair unmussed, no sweat, facing the likes of Sheryl Swopes and
Rebecca Lobo and Debbie Black. Yes, she is in sneakers instead of
four inch heels, but her legs look like toothpicks. As Cate
Terwilliger wrote in the Denver Post, "Had they put her on a muscle
building program? Had they given her a practical haircut" A good
waterproof mascara? Normal arches? Breast reduction surgery?
No...They sent her into the big leagues with little more than movable
Colorado Xplosion coach Linda Hargrove commented, "Good thing it's an
WNBA player and not an ABL player."
In spite of all the Barbies, the annual toy search with all the
wonderful toys and the parents and grandparents wandering around, their
arms laden with boxes chased the Grinch away. Santa Claus wins again.
As Dr. Seuss wrote,
". . . he hadn't stopped Christmas from coming!
Somehow or other, it came just the same....
Well in Whoville they say, 'The Grinch's small heart
Grew three sizes that day.'"