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How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a children's book written by Dr. Seuss in 1957.

It tells the story of a mean-spirited, cave-dwelling creature called The Grinch who hates Christmas. He proceeds to pilfer all the Christmas paraphernalia from the perky folks living in Whoville in an effort to, well, steal Christmas. Although he succeeds, the Whos happily sing their big Christmas song anyway. Realizing the True Meaning of Christmas, the Grinch has a change of heart, and returns all the loot as the Whos cheerfully welcome him into their community. This plot has become a Stock Parody.

What? You didn't know the ending? Well, you should have. It Was His Sled, after all.

The story was adapted for an animated television Christmas Special directed by Chuck Jones in 1966. In 1998 it became a stage musical that played Broadway in holiday engagements over 2006-07. In 2000, they made the movie with Jim Carrey as a Large Ham version of the title character.


Includes examples of:

  • An Aesop
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: The Grinch pats Cindy Lou Who on the head before he gives her a drink and sends her back to bed.
  • Ass in a Lion Skin: The Grinch dresses his dog, Max, as a reindeer.
  • Bad Santa: The Grinch disguises himself as one.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: The Grinch's face breaks into one of these when he first hits on his scheme to impersonate Santa.
  • Children Are Innocent
  • Consummate Liar: Implied by the narrator's line of "But you know that old Grinch was so smart and so slick, that he thought up a lie and he thought it up quick." The animated special makes the validity of this claim more ambiguous, though.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Grinch's only motivation for ruining the holiday is being disturbed by the noises of the Christmas celebration.
  • Dreaming of a White Christmas
  • Excited Show Title: The title is How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, with the exclamation point.
  • Expy: The Grinch is a very, very loose one of Grendel.
  • Grim Up North: The Grinch lives "just north of Whoville", and his lair is pretty icy (although that may just be because it's winter.)
  • The Grinch: Trope Namer
  • Heel Face Turn: The Grinch, at the end.
  • How the Character Stole Christmas: Trope Namer and Trope Maker.
  • Lost in Imitation: The book was black-and-white with occasional red for emphasis. It was the animated version that made the Grinch green.
  • Neologism: Like "scrooge", the word "grinch" has entered the language as a synonym for a stingy, mean-spirited person, particularly one who hates Christmas, but unlike Scrooge who simply expresses his contempt, a grinch is one who actively attempts to ruin it for everyone.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Max the Dog.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: This ugly cave creature puts on a red coat and Santa hat. Boom! He automatically looks "just like Saint Nick." The only person who actually sees him is a two-year-old girl.
    • And he ties a single antler to a dog with bright red thread to create a "reindeer".
  • Saving Christmas: Inverted; in fact, the inversion of this trope is essentially the whole premise of the story. However, it's then played straight when the Grinch ends up Saving Christmas at the end.
  • Shrunken Organ: The Grinch's heart.
  • Up to Eleven: Inverted in the beginning as the Grinch's heart is two sizes smaller than what a normal one should be. Played straight By the end, as it's not only grown to a normal size, but one size farther!
  • Villain Protagonist: The Grinch, up until the end.
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