Category Archives: Grinch List

Grinch List #15: Candy Canes

Candy CanesThe last few Decembers I have made a Grinch List– things that I would steal from the holiday season if I could. This year I’m going to try to turn that list into something positive. Along with the reasons I am annoyed by each item, I will try to find a solution–an angle to adjust the way I feel about it in order to celebrate the season appropriately. I can’t promise I will change my mind about anything, but I can attempt to change my attitude.

 

When you give a child a candy cane, there are only four possible outcomes:

The candy becomes a weapon.
The child will lick the long end of the candy cane for approximately 7 hours until it is sharpened into a bayonet the likes of which were only seen at the North Pole during the great Elfin riot of 1827. This once-innocent peppermint stick is now capable of piercing the strongest Kevlar. An 8-second scan of Google did not reveal any reports of candy-cane related deaths, but I’m sure it is all a cover-up by the big candy manufacturers. Willie Wonka probably had all of the Oompa Loompa witnesses thrown into the chocolate river.

 
Everything within a 7-mile radius becomes sticky.
While others are pondering the possibility of snow on Christmas day, I am dreaming of a time when I pick up a TV remote and am able to put it back down…or stand up after I sit on the couch without some sort of solvent being involved…or walk across my laminate floors without leaving footprints…or wear a sweater without looking like I have been decorated for Christmas by a kindergarten art class.

 
The child becomes a walking bio-hazard.
How much saliva can a 35-pound child possibly contain? How is it possible that consuming one piece of curved candy could cause an expulsion of 48 gallons of germ-infested spittle? Every inch of her clothing will be drenched. You will hear sloshing as he walks. They should put a ShamWow in every box.

 
And worst of all, in their sugar-induced state of happiness…
The child will always want a hug.

Advertisements

Grinch List #14: Noise

Grinch listeningThe last few Decembers I have made a Grinch List– things that I would steal from the holiday season if I could. This year I’m going to try to turn that list into something positive. Along with the reasons I am annoyed by each item, I will try to find a solution–an angle to adjust the way I feel about it in order to celebrate the season appropriately. I can’t promise I will change my mind about anything, but I can attempt to change my attitude.

 

Christmas time is unbelievably noisy. Traffic, crowds, music, jingle bells, Salvation Army ringers, phone solicitors, and advertisements are all in full force. Apparently merriment is only available at 90 decibels or greater. Just when no creatures are stirring the red guy gets involved with clattering about on the rooftop.

Have you ever lay in bed completely exhausted but unable to fall asleep because of some small noise? I have no problem turning off a squeaky fan, shutting down a computer, or waiting out a police siren. The real problem is when the noise is inside of my own brain. A problem from the day, an upcoming decision, a to-do list for tomorrow, a poor choice I made, a mishandled conversation, a missed opportunity, a pending project all scream through my mind. This mental racket is louder than any siren or bell. There is no off switch when our schedules are full of Christmas activities, deadlines, shopping, and normal life. It just keeps amplifying in an endless feedback loop…louder, shriller, more chaotic, demanding more of you physically and mentally as the season progresses.

Perhaps that’s why the idea of peace is so prevalent during this hectic season. Perhaps the third verse of Silent Night contains the secret—the only source of inner peace, the only way to achieve silence of the mind, is the redeeming grace that was revealed along with the birth of our Savior.

Silent night, Holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth.

 

 

Grinch List #13: Strange Christmas Lyrics

Music NotesThe last few Decembers I have made a Grinch List– things that I would steal from the holiday season if I could. This year I’m going to try to turn that list into something positive. Along with the reasons I am annoyed by each item, I will try to find a solution–an angle to adjust the way I feel about it in order to celebrate the season appropriately. I can’t promise I will change my mind about anything, but I can attempt to change my attitude.

  • What about my wife’s 93-year-old grandma? Can’t she get a “Merry Christmas” too?
  • Is “mother’s child” the same as “momma’s boy”?
  • If the choir of children really did practice all year long, shouldn’t they know more lyrics than “Ding-dong, ding-dong, ding-dong, ding-dong, ding-dong, ding-dong, ding-dong, ding”?
  • If Christmas time is here and it brings happiness and cheer, why are the Charlie Brown characters singing about it in a minor key?
  • What is the return policy on used hearts? If I still have one left over from last Christmas that I failed to give away the very next day, can I still return it? I have a receipt.
  • Is re-gifting hearts really that big of a deal? What if they are glowing because it is the most wonderful time of the year?
  • How long until Bob Costas gives this halftime speech?
    “Red-nosed reindeer” can’t possibly honor a heritage, or noble character trait, nor can it possibly be considered a neutral term. Isn’t it clear to see how offense “might” legitimately be taken?
  • If I don’t write Christmas cards can I be excused from dreaming for white Christmas?
  • Why don’t more December weddings have a snowman officiating? I imagine Parson Brown would welcome the break.
  • What are we conspiring about around the fire? Has the D.O.D. been informed of this activity?
  • Is Bob the horse? Does he know about the bells on his tail?
  • What happened between verse 1 and 2 that turned a delightful group of carolers wishing me a Merry Christmas into an angry mob demanding antiquated desserts?
  • Who thought it was a good idea to bring a little boy with a drum to see a newborn?
  • I need to get a gift for my true love. Does anyone have the number for a good fowler? Or at least a large dairy farm with laborers for rent?

Several comedians have done bits about Do You Hear What I Hear? so I’ll leave that one to the professionals.

What Christmas lyrics do you find ridiculous? Comment below.

Grinch List #12: Short Days, Long Nights

SolsticeThe last few Decembers I have made a Grinch List– things that I would steal from the holiday season if I could. This year I’m going to try to turn that list into something positive. Along with the reasons I am annoyed by each item, I will try to find a solution–an angle to adjust the way I feel about it in order to celebrate the season appropriately. I can’t promise I will change my mind about anything, but I can attempt to change my attitude.

I don’t mind going to work before the sun comes up or coming home after the sun goes down, but doing both on the same day is more than a little frustrating. The short daylight hours give me the feeling that I can get less accomplished in the same 24 hour period. I get tired. I’m SAD.

This week is the worst of the year. With the Winter Solstice barreling toward us like a runaway Polar Express, the depressingly short days are getting even shorter. Here’s how much time the sun will be up this week in Virginia Beach:

Monday- 9 hours, 39 minutes
Tuesday- 9 hours, 38 minutes
Wednesday- 9 hours, 38 minutes
Thursday- 9 hours, 38 minutes
Friday- 9 hours, 38 minutes
Saturday- 9 hours, 37 minutes

Saturday will be the shortest day of the year…and maybe that’s a good way to look at it. If we can survive this week, it will only get better. Let’s fight through. Let’s look toward the brighter days ahead—the days that are literally brighter. Instead of complaining and focusing on the negative, I will remain positive and remember that my inner Spring can’t be affected by the Winter around me.

I won’t let the physical darkness creep into my attitude this week.

Grinch List #11: Christmas Albums by…Everyone

The last few Decembers I have made a Grinch List– things that I would steal from the holiday season if I could. This year I’m going to try to turn that list into something positive. Along with the reasons I am annoyed by each item, I will try to find a solution–an angle to adjust the way I feel about it in order to celebrate the season appropriately. I can’t promise I will change my mind about anything, but I can attempt to change my attitude.

Everyone and their momma has recorded a Christmas album.

Seriously, everyone.

Partridge Family Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And their momma.

Shirley Jones Christmas

Maybe it shouldn’t bother me, but I can’t be the only one who thinks that it is weird hearing certain people sing Christmas songs.

  • Which artists have shocked you by releasing a Christmas album?
  • Have any surprised you by being better than anticipated?
  • Which ones were every bit as awful as you expected?

Grinch List #10: Jesus vs. Santa

Boxing SantaThe last few Decembers I have made a Grinch List– things that I would steal from the holiday season if I could. This year I’m going to try to turn that list into something positive. Along with the reasons I am annoyed by each item, I will try to find a solution–an angle to adjust the way I feel about it in order to celebrate the season appropriately. I can’t promise I will change my mind about anything, but I can attempt to change my attitude.

After yesterday’s discussion of celebrating secular or sacred Christmas, I started to realize that people have argued this for years and just called it something different. Instead of thinking of it in terms of sacred and secular celebrations, they have personified the entire argument into a battle between Jesus and Santa Claus. Both sides of these arguments have always annoyed me. Some act like depriving a child of belief in Santa is akin to registering to vote as a Nazi, while others view Santa-peddlers as liars and manipulative false prophets.

Perhaps we should settle this right now:

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
LET’S GET READY TO RUUUUMMMMMMMMMMMBLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE!!!!!!!!!

In this corner, the challenger is wearing red with white trim. He stands 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighed in at 473 pounds. His reach is across the entire globe in one night…the Bearded Brawler, the Overweight Heavyweight, the Roof-Top Wrangler, Santa “the Sleigher” Claus!!!

In the other corner, our champion is wearing swaddling clothes. With a length of 22 and ½ inches, he tips the scales at 6 pounds and 11 ounces…

Wait a second, really? That’s the fight? An overweight elf versus a baby?

I know that I could elaborate on Jesus’ credentials with all of His divine attributes. Omnipotence is pretty difficult to block. I never heard Rocky’s trainer tell him to “turn the other cheek” though. It may not be a bad strategy, however, because you can’t hit someone with perfect foreknowledge…unless He wants you to.

And there’s the beauty of Christmas—Jesus willingly allowed Himself to be made into an inferior being and didn’t dodge punches He knew were coming from the beginning of time. His strategy was the ultimate rope-a-dope, because, although Jesus allowed Himself to be beaten mercilessly, three days after the final ten-count, He picked Himself up and reclaimed His title.

I don’t care to hear arguments about whether Santa is harmful or harmless. I don’t care to pit St. Nick against Jesus because it’s not even a fair fight. They’re not in the same class primarily because one is fictional and the other is a very real, very personal, very powerful being.

And the truth is that anyone who is even remotely honest with himself knows it.

We don’t need the debate, we just need to admit what we already know to be true—your attitude toward a fictional character doesn’t matter. Your response to your Creator does.

Grinch List #9: The “Merry Christmas” Battle

AFA's Merry Christmas buttonThe last few Decembers I have made a Grinch List– things that I would steal from the holiday season if I could. This year I’m going to try to turn that list into something positive. Along with the reasons I am annoyed by each item, I will try to find a solution–an angle to adjust the way I feel about it in order to celebrate the season appropriately. I can’t promise I will change my mind about anything, but I can attempt to change my attitude.

It drives me nuts when people demand that others say “Merry Christmas”

Most holidays have a strange dichotomy of sacred tradition and secular appeal. Christmas probably exemplifies this strange, two-faced celebration most clearly. Some people celebrate the sacred holiday, focusing on the religious aspects of Christ’s birth and God’s salvation plan, while others embrace the secular holiday, focusing instead on family, friends, and generosity.

Here’s the tricky part—Most of us celebrate both.

I know you can spiritualize anything (I’m looking at you, candy canes), but I’m not sure that trees, lights, gift giving, over-eating, wreaths, or games of Dirty Santa have anything to do with the Savior. Even for those of us who celebrate the religious holiday of Christmas, there are certain parts of our celebration that have nothing to do with our primary cause of reflection. Even though the two have become very intertwined, we must realize that Christians and non-Christians are celebrating two very different holidays.

The last several years, I have heard many, many Christians get upset at particular retailers and broadcasting companies for using the generic term “holidays” rather “Christmas” to refer to this season, sale items, or decorations. Before you demand that they acknowledge Christmas, please remember that non-Christian organizations are not celebrating your religious holiday even when they say “Christmas”, they are celebrating the secular version of that holiday. They are not remembering your Savior’s incarnation as a human, they are thinking about meals with family, TV specials, gift exchanges, and time off work.

Now for some logic: You can’t have it both ways.

If retailers are celebrating a sacred Christmas, they are doing it in a strange way. They are doing their best to convince us that the best way to be joyful this holiday season is to give them our money. If they are celebrating Christ’s birth, they are doing it in a way that is very similar to the money changers that Jesus drove out of the temple. It should be pretty obvious that the birth of Christ is not the central cause of the joy surrounding the holiday being celebrated by most secular organizations.

If they are celebrating a secular Christmas (along with other secular holidays), they are doing it very appropriately by encouraging giving and togetherness…and taking our money.

My point is simple—By demanding that secular organizations use the term “Christmas”, we are simply muddying the message of our sacred holiday. We are demanding that they celebrate a very different holiday than the one we are supposedly defending. So the next time someone says “Happy Holidays” to me or advertises a “holiday tree” or gives me “holiday greetings” I’m going to smile and thank them then…

I’m going to remember that my cause for celebration is so much greater than temporary feasts, gifts, and gatherings with friends and family. I’m going to make sure that within my heart and my home I’m going to intentionally celebrate the birth of Christ this year and the salvation that He still brings.

Grinch List #8: Deflated Inflatables

The last few Decembers I have made a Grinch List– things that I would steal from the holiday season if I could. This year I’m going to try to turn that list into something positive. Along with the reasons I am annoyed by each item, I will try to find a solution–an angle to adjust the way I feel about it in order to celebrate the season appropriately. I can’t promise I will change my mind about anything, but I can attempt to change my attitude.

Is there a more depressing holiday sight than this?deflated

I hate seeing inflatable yard decorations this way. I can’t help but think that some disgruntled Elf took out Santa and Frosty with a BB gun in the middle of the night…and maybe he was right to, Frosty is a pretty despicable character.

I get it, though. Christmas is a busy time. In the next seven days I am attending or participating in two Christmas parties, a Christmas concert, a Christmas play, rehearsals for that play and concert, two basketball games, and a piano recital. Some of you are reading that and thinking “That’s all? Why is he complaining? I have twice that!” We are all stretched thin and apparently even plastic St. Nicks need some down time so…

When I see uninflated yard decorations, I won’t assume it was an act of homicidal North Pole employees or even dwell on the general disorder in the lawn, I will use it as a reminder to seek some down time for physical, emotional, and spiritual restoration.

Grinch List #7: Mall kiosks

mall kiosksThe last few Decembers I have made a Grinch List– things that I would steal from the holiday season if I could. This year I’m going to try to turn that list into something positive. Along with the reasons I am annoyed by each item, I will try to find a solution–an angle to adjust the way I feel about it in order to celebrate the season appropriately. I can’t promise I will change my mind about anything, but I can attempt to change my attitude.

Let me save you some time:

  • I am aware of the healing properties of minerals from the Dead Sea.
  • I do not need new insulation in my attic.
  • I am happy with my current bathtub.
  • I am still under contract with my current cell phone plan.
  • I don’t buy unlicensed NFL gear.
  • I don’t wear a watch.
  • I don’t need any more cell phone accessories. Really? A case with Hello Kitty dressed like Batman? Oh, this is for the iPhone 3G…no one has that anymore.
  • Yes, Yes I will need a bandage. The rotors on that helicopter are sharper than you’d think.

I dislike the mall anyway, but when you turn it into some sort of bizarre open-air bazaar, it becomes downright scary. But these people have jobs and Americans are spending and receiving money, so instead of being upset and mean when I have to walk through 43 sales pitches on my way to the food court I’ll remember that…

Christmas is a great time for people to earn some extra cash and I am grateful that there are opportunities for those who need it.

What about you? What are your favorite products sold at mall kiosks?

Grinch List #6: Inconsiderate Customers

The last few Decembers I have made a Grinch List– things that I would steal from the holiday season if I could. This year I’m going to try to turn that list into something positive. Along with the reasons I am annoyed by each item, I will try to find a solution–an angle to adjust the way I feel about it in order to celebrate the season appropriately. I can’t promise I will change my mind about anything, but I can attempt to change my attitude.

I needed some supplies for school yesterday and decided to test my luck at Wal-Mart. I figured since school had just let out and most people weren’t off work yet I was hitting it at the right time. I’ve got to say that it was a rather pleasant experience. The store was busy but not overly crowded and there plenty of cashiers on hand so that no one was waiting in line more than five minutes. Overall, that’s a Wal-Mart win.

The conflict was within my own heart and mind, however. I had to get a few items from opposite sides of the store. While at one end of the store near the garden section, I picked up a particular item and headed toward the grocery section. In the main aisle between the grocery section and the display for those girdles that make you look skinny even if you aren’t, I noticed that the item in my cart was not exactly what I thought it was and, therefore, I should not purchase it. I picked it up and started to place it on top of a nearby display when something I have said many times ran through my head:

The worst part about Wal-Mart is the customers.

Placing an unwanted item down in the wrong section may not be horrible and it certainly isn’t a crime. But it does make other people’s shopping experience worse. It does cause more work for the already-overwhelmed shelving staff. It does make it much more difficult for the store to stock items and account for inventory. I was about to become part of the problem.

I am ashamed of how long it took me to finally decide to make the trip back to the other side of the store and put the item in the correct place. I contemplated stopping at numerous points along the way and unloading my cargo. 300 yards later, I finally made it to the right aisle and replaced the item.

With more customers in stores throughout December, there will be plenty of inconsiderate or just downright rude customers everywhere you shop. There will be people parking like this:handicapped spot

There will be people almost getting their carts into the corral, but not quite making it:carts

There will be people walking slowly in your way, fighting over items that are in short supply, arguing over sale prices, complaining about long lines, cutting each other in line, and just being jerks.

And I will be tempted to join in. But I must resist that urge. As a child of the Christ whose birth made this season special, I must not become part of the problem. It is easy for me to allow my fleshly desires to make me act selfishly but…

When I see other people so caught up in their own busyness that they are acting only for themselves, I will remember that I personally know the Reason this season is so crazy and go out of my way to be selfless.