As a powerful N’oreaster was bearing down on New York, it certainly was looking very holiday season-ish. Interestingly enough, in this year like no other, it seems that festive decorations and twinkling bulbs have been particularly plentiful. It’s almost as if residents have strung themselves together to fight back the darkness of a pandemic with bright lights and cheerful holiday displays. It’s lovely.
I’ve spent my free time making cookie dough and trying to invite the spirit of Christmas into my home. For the first time in decades, though, I’m not sending out my usual holiday card, complete with current picture of the fam. There hasn’t been an opportunity to gather the guys together for one of our infamous self-timer photo sessions, so it’ll be a welcome 2021 card instead. Hopefully, it’ll be worth the delay.
While this lack of adherence to tradition is unusual for me, it is totally on brand for 2020, isn’t it? This has really been a weird and remarkable year.
Earlier this week, in a fit of nostalgia probably prompted by the (unadulterated but still indulgent) eggnog and tree trimming extravaganza shared with my youngest, I was inspired to revisit more ghosts of Christmas past in the form of a childhood favorite holiday movie – in its original form, of course.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas, along with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and A Charlie Brown Christmas, was a part of my childhood that I recall fondly. Rewatching the Grinch with my son seemed an ideal way to connect special memories from the past with the present. We queued up Prime and settled in.
It’s funny how childhood memories don’t necessarily reflect more recent experiences, how they way one remembers something isn’t always accurate, isn’t it?
There were numerous parts of the program which felt unfamiliar to me. I simply didn’t remember them from the dozen or so times I had previously watched the Grinch. The dog seemed less victim to me and more coconspirator, for instance. I thought there was more attention and time spent on the residents of Whoville and their Christmas preparations. But something beyond those observations really struck me…
This Dr. Seuss classic featured only white faces. There were no people of color in Whoville.
How could I never have noticed that before? I wondered what it must be like to be a toddler or small child and to never see your own face on television. During a time of the year when traditions are rolled out and celebrated anew, I simply can’t imagine not feel represented by the media and arts.
I have no reason, beyond my own skin color, for never before having recognized the whiteness of this (previously) favorite holiday movie, but I don’t think I’ll be watching The Grinch again anytime soon. He did, indeed, steal Christmas, but not just from the citizens of Whoville.