Mr. Grinch Found in Philadelphia Area

I'm out of gift ideas and I hate your fruitcake … but there's still hope for my Christmas spirit

Maurice Sendak, author of the beloved children’s classic Where the Wild Things Are, has reportedly become a curmudgeonly old coot. He’s miserable and walks around with a stick that he claims he uses to hit people. He says he’s ready to die because life sucks. Well, move over Mo, make some room, it’s December and my Scrooge is emerging for the holidays.

Christmas carols start so early that by now I’m sick of the whole lot. (Well, not Adam Sandler’s Hanukkah song; I still get a kick out of that one). I’m sick of sending out cards to people who never send one back. I can’t stand that nasty fruitcake … who eats that stuff anyway? I eat and drink too much over the holidays and then start my annual self-loathing with the new year. Shopping is a nightmare and decorating is even worse. Traditionally, I drink eggnog while my daughter and I decorate the tree. She’s off at school now, and I have a hard enough time going up and down that ladder sober, let alone tipsy and with no spotter. Besides, that stuff has like a gazillion calories per ounce. I’ve completely run out of gift ideas. I have no idea what kids want these days although I’m pretty sure it was invented by Steve Jobs. As for adults, I’ve narrowed it down to a nightgown or a sweater. That’s the sad state of my gift-giving creativity.

Stringing Christmas lights used to be a real pleasure: the crisp air, my clump of lights and a three-step ladder. Then my neighbor started bringing in 12 electricians, two cherry pickers and a crane. There’s a guy at PECO with a cigar in his mouth, feet up on the console, who gets a big smile on his face when she hits the switch.

Then just when I’ve settled into my bah-humbug mode, the TV shows start and I’m a goner: Charlie Brown’s Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, the usual stuff. Unlike the carols, I could watch the Christmas shows a million times. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (animated version, not the Jim Carrey one) sucks me back into the Christmas spirit just in the nick of time. When all those little Whos in Whoville clasp their furry little hands in a circle and sing “who rah, loo rah,” I’m done for. My grumpy old heart grows three sizes and I get all warm and fuzzy. I start baking Christmas cookies and singing along to the radio.

Oh hell, pass the fruitcake. And, of course, the eggnog.