8 ways we relate to the Grinch

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Nov 12, 2018, 2:00 PM EST

You might think you know the Grinch. The green grouch from Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas is as cuddly as a cactus, as charming as an eel, with a heart three sizes too small. But with the new animated adventure The Grinch, audiences are invited to see a new side to this infamous holiday-hater!

Benedict Cumberbatch lends his voice to bring the Grinch to life in all his grumpy glory. When the biggest Christmas celebration ever comes to Whoville, this mountain-dwelling misanthrope is pushed beyond grousing. Incensed and inspired, he concocts an elaborate scheme to ride into town as a gift-snatching Santa and steal their Christmas right from under their sugar-plum-sniffing noses! But amid all the scowling, silliness, and spectacle, there's a string of moments where we totally related to this infamous scoundrel.

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch. But we get you.

Warning: Slight spoilers ahead for The Grinch.

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Indulging in emotional eating

Yes, yes. The holidays are a time for feasting, be it on turkey or roast-beast. But the weeks leading up to the holidays is a time for stress, and that means emotional eating. As much as the Grinch loathes Christmas, even he's not able to avoid this yuletide tradition. In a montage, we see him gorging on big bowls of cereal, a table-sized cake, and a Mount Crumpit-sized bowl of spaghetti. We've been there. And we have the elastic-waist holiday sweatpants to prove it.

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Feeling overwhelmed by the crowds and the noise, noise, noise, noise!

Even if you like holiday shopping, you need to steady yourself for the sheer endeavor of it. Stores are overcrowded and often cacophonic. Parties too. And if you live in a city full of seasonal holiday displays that attract tourists from all over the world to gawk and take photos, even your commute is complicated with surging waves of people and sound! So when the Grinch gets unexpectedly surrounded by giddy, tree-gazing Whos, the world goes into a spin of dizzying color. It's a succinct way of capturing how overwhelming this crowds and social pressures can feel this time of year. And it feels a wee bit better to realize we're not alone in this!


Thinking of carolers as an invading horde

In the movie, this feeling is made literal as the Grinch is swarmed by a growing mob of carolers madly belting "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." Sure. At first, carolers are cute. When it's just a couple on a street corner or singing the lobby of a bank. But then it seems they're EVERYWHERE. Singing so loud you can't hear yourself think. Smiling so wide it's eerie. Showing up at your door uninvited! They're just THERE and expectant. "Listen to our song," their bright eyes and jolly demeanors demand, "We don't care that your dinner is piping hot upstairs. We don't understand you've been waiting all day to kick back to a bottle of wine and a new episode of The Good Place. STAY! LISTEN! AND BEHOLD THE LONG LOST VERSE OF  "GOOD KING WENCESLAS!"


Ducking that acquaintance who can't take the hint

"He thinks we're friends." You know the one. He's a nice and friendly and always ready with an invite to some social event you absolutely have no interest in attending. You feel like a jerk for doing everything in your power to duck talking to him, but you must! Because this dull dude is so boring you fear prolonged exposure to his chipper chattering will make your brain go rigid and die. For the Grinch, that guy is the jolly Mr. Bricklebaum, who our guy does his very best to avoid, busting out spy moves and scorching passive-aggressiveness. But to no avail! The Mr. Bricklebaums of the world are immune to nuance and obsessed with ignoring personal boundaries. When the Grinch finally brushes him off with, "I'm sorry. I can't hear you. I don't speak ridiculous!" It's a big mood.


Can't deny those puppy eyes

In the classic 1966 cartoon, part of the way we were shown the Grinch was pretty rough to his poor dog, Max. In this new version, the Grinch is much gentler to his loyal lapdog. And when Max busts out literal puppy eyes to cajole his way onto the Grinch's bed, our hearts melted collectively. How can you say no when they do that!? You know he'll steal all the blankets, but we are helpless under that good boy gaze. And so is this Grinch.


Had a friend ditch plans because of their kid

In The Grinch, our eponymous anti-hero has more than Max at his side as he plots to steal Christmas. He makes friends with a husky reindeer called Fred, who agrees to pull his sleigh. But wouldn't you know it? Fred has to bail as soon as he sees his wife and kid (or cow and calf). And like the Grinch, we don't get mad or mean when this happens. We get it, Fred. But it still stings a bit. We're big enough (or petty enough?) to admit that.


Feeling that FOMO

Fear of missing out is a real problem this time of year. You know that stomach-churning sensation when you're on social media during the holiday season? You spot photos of ski trips, holiday parties, cookie-swaps, and Secret Santa gift exchanges. And you feel like you're on the outside looking in? That's basically the backstory in The Grinch to explain its subject's deep hatred for the holidays. Watching him literally out in the cold while the Whos sit down for a feast, we can totally understand how his feeling ostracized festered into a wrathful anger. And frankly, it's a vicarious thrill to see him act out his wild fantasy of petty revenge. (Don't invite me to the cookie swap? I'll snatch all your cookies, SUSAN!)


Let go of anger to let in love!

It's that big moment. The Grinch has stolen every scrap, stocking, and morsel from Whoville, and the Whos awake to see got not gifts or goodies for Christmas. Nonetheless, they join together for their big group sing-along. This act of community not only warms the heart of the Grinch, but it also makes it grow three times its shrunken size! If you've ever been hurt, you can relate to his anger. But there's a point where anger--no matter how justified--is no longer helpful. His anger, his revenge, it didn't hurt the Whos. It just kept the Grinch high in the mountains, alone and miserable. His anger was a self-made prison. And by letting it go, he could tear down its walls and let love rush in. Self-love, love for others, and even love for Christmas. It's a lesson we learn, and sometimes need to relearn. It's not easy. But every time, it feels like a big, important, heart-growing moment.