Santa vs The Grinch. Who Ya Got?

by | Dec 13, 2020 | Featured articles, Lifestyle | 6 comments

I find it interesting that in a recent poll, 69% of Republicans think Santa is one of them, while 73 percent of the opposing political party think Santa is a Democrat.

But we’re not gonna go there.

2020 is almost over and next year we can put all this bullshit behind us and concentrate on more important things, like who’s better: Santa or The Grinch?

Normal Rockwell's Santa from the 1920's

Normal Rockwell’s Santa from the 1920’s

First, so we’re all on the same playing field, when I speak of Santa Claus, I’m referring to the classic image that Norman Rockwell created in the 1920’s.

I apologize up front to anyone who takes offense to the commercialized Caucasian Santa, hates Christmas, or wants us to talk only about baby Jesus and the three Wiseman.

This article is not for you. (Go here.)

And when I talk about the Grinch, I’ll stay in the classics with Chuck Jones’ 1966, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” TV show.

But before we begin, for the sake of transparency, I have not been paid by Santa or the Grinch or anyone affiliated with them.

Chuck Jones's 1966 Grinch

Chuck Jones’s 1966 Grinch

It’s my opinion that Christmas is the best time of the year and I look forward to it the day I put away the tree. I put my Christmas tree up on Election Day this year just to get my mind off shit, and I also built a Christmas village which I do every year, complete with sections for Charles Dickens, The North Pole, and the Elf’s forest (Duh!). The photo you see here is about a third of my collection as I do not have enough room for the whole thing. (And my wife wouldn’t let me put up the entire village anyway.)

 

The way I see it, Santa Claus represents the cheery side of Christmas while the Grinch reflects the sentiment of some who would like to avoid the holidays altogether – for a myriad of reasons. Let me know in the comments if you side with Santa or the Grinch. Do you tend to like Christmas or hate it?

PJs Christmas Village

PJs Christmas Village

 

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!

 

1. The Suit

Santa has created an industry with his red suit and black boots. You would be hard-pressed to find a person who has never dawned the furry red hat and white pom-pom in their lifetime. (I know my Yakama wearing friends would argue that, silchu lee.)

And you won’t find a mall Santa anywhere in the country who isn’t decked out in the red, white and black ensemble. Santa has made his suit synonymous with Christmas.

But the Grinch completes the ensemble when he dawns his homemade Santy-suit. Red and Green can be seen screaming down the mountain toward Whoville. He crushes the classic combo with his own green fur coat. Santa could take a lesson from the Grinch and start adding a little more color. That said, the Grinch did steal the look of Santa’s suit as he plotted his heist on the Who.

Winner: Santa Claus

 

2. The Sidekick

I must say, I have a love-hate relationship with the way Santa’s elves are portrayed on film and TV. Maybe I’m biased toward Ron Bass’s version in his classic, Rudolph the Red Noise Reindeer, but the elves portrayed in the Christmas Chronicles are downright creepy. And what’s with the elves in Noelle. They make no sense. I will, however, give a B+ to the portrayal of Santa’s elves in Jon Favreau’s Elf. Take a minute to watch this documentary to see how the film work was done.

Forced perspective in Elf

Forced perspective in Elf

But Santa enslaves an army of these creatures to do his bidding. Why? What are their benefits? What if an elf does want to be a dentist? Does Santa let him? Is Santa using some sort of evil magic to keep them working? Do they have a union? So many questions.

The Grinch on the other hand only abuses one creature: Max the dog. And I’m sorry, Max is frickin’ adorable. He carries the Christmas cheer that Grinch has misplaced. I mean who doesn’t like Max?

Winner: The Grinch

 

3. Discrimination

Let face it, the naughty or nice list is discriminatory. Why does Santa get the final say? What recourse do I have if I make that dreaded naughty list? I mean, everyone slips up. I used to tease my sister growing up. How much did that count versus all the chores I did? But worse than that, the parents have jumped on this bandwagon. Every time they want something done, they pull out that friggin’ list! They’ve even enlisted spies to report back to Santa during the busy season. (SNL does Elf on a shelf).

The Grinch on the other hand hates everyone who likes Christmas. There is no naughty or nice. He hates all. Period. At least I know where I stand with the Grinch. There is no pussyfooting around here and I can respect that.

Winner: The Grinch

 

4. Christmas Cheer

I think what I like most about Christmas is that it’s the time of year that forces people to be a little nicer. You have to think about others even if it’s buying them a present that you hate doing. It brings families together even if it’s begrudgingly and it gets people singing. (If you don’t like Christmas Carols – at least the classic crooners – then we can’t be friends. Here is a link to my hand-curated Christmas Crooners Spotify list. Listen to it, then we’ll talk.)

People also make concessions at work. At Redbear, we give people two weeks paid holiday (although most of us still work). Deadlines can be pushed, and everyone understands, it’s “that time of year”. The treats get better, food is shared…

Let’s stop here for a second. I do want to acknowledge how it can be tougher on families during this time of year. I personally remember a time when I dreaded the coming Christmas season because I couldn’t afford it. I wanted to buy my kids everything, but I knew I had bills to pay. I knew it was going to put me in debt even if I bought the simplest gifts. Those were some of the worst Christmases I ever had, but I can still remember sitting together and sharing what little we did have. The Christmas tree, the lights, the music, my kids on my lap asking about Santa. I still cherish those memories, but I know it can be hard sometimes. Really hard.

But, I feel that just for a brief moment, Santa spreads a little hope and a little cheer, often when we need it most.

The Grinch on the other hand wants to burn it down. He’s like that awful aunt at the dinner table who has a negative response for anything anyone says. You just want to take that turkey leg she has a death grip on and stuff it down her throat. We all know her. She waves that turkey leg around like she’s trying to open the gates to Hogwarts.

The Grinch does have a redemption story, but in my opinion, it’s too late. When he sleds into town with all those toys and ornaments stuffed into that colossal bag, I am not happy. How the hell are we gonna find my jing-tinglers in that mess?

The Grinch Sleigh

The Grinch Sleigh

Winner: Santa

 

5. Origin Story

This topic may be the point of most debate. Who doesn’t like a good redemption story? The Grinch takes the cake here, but as a true Santaologist, I feel many people ignore the hardships Santa overcame to be Jolly Old St Nick. He grew up poor, orphaned and misunderstood, but despite all of that, he grew into the great man he is today.

To further argue this point, I present the following foreign films as evidence. Give it a watch, I think you’ll like it: Joulutarina

Winner: Santa

There you have it. Santa Claus wins in this very scientific, and very unbiased analysis of two Christmas icons. I’m sure you have your opinion on the subject. I would love to hear it, so place your comments below and remember, be nice. Santa is watching!

6 Comments

  1. Amelia Brown

    As a scientist, I love seeing a good comparison story so this article is amazing! I love this Pj! I 100% can see myself as more of a Santa than a grinch! I love Christmas way too much!

    Reply
  2. Stephanie Watson

    Love this! I think you’ve captured the essence here, for sure, and thanks for the fun link to the short about Elf’s effects!

    I have to add that I don’t think either Santa or The Grinch are doing well in the discrimination department. It seems that both have a bit of all-or-nothing thinking that doesn’t take the complexity of being human into account. I mean, little Sally can be an angel most of the year, yet played a practical joke on her brother that landed the poor kid in the ER with a penny up his nose. And Bobby could like Christmas, but really hate having to work with Christmas music on a loop all day. We’re complex people, and I think we could all use a little more nuance in how we think of each other. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Brandy Brown

    I am more of a Santa for sure but can be a bit Grinchy depending on the situation and I have used the naughty vs nice list against my child (just yesterday actually…oops). Love this article PJ and I wonder who clicked the link (This article is not for you- click here). I’m afraid to but my curiosity may get me in the end.

    Reply
  4. Michelle Holstine

    Hahaha Brandy, I clicked the click but was also afraid to. It’s worth it! Amazing article, PJ, and I really enjoyed the format and your writing style! I will say I am definitely a Santa (I mean, I have to be on the nice list, right?) I also appreciated your excerpt about it being tough. This is a year like that for us, and it hurts and sucks, but the magic is still around if you are in tune for it. We will have family here, we have a beautiful house with decorations a-plenty, and a wonderful tree (who cares if we had to get it from the “do not want” part of the tree-lot. It had a “wall-side” and it goes against a wall anyway). Thanks for a fun read!

    Reply
    • Avatar

      I’m afraid it’s going to be tough for a lot of people this year. Keep your chin up. Remember that everyone here loves you!

      Reply
  5. Rohan Elliott

    I love Christmas especially down at the beach with family (Australian over here) but have always wanted to see a Christmas with snow.

    I’ve dealt with quite a few Grinches over the years and have been a grinch at times especially when there’s last-minute work to get done.

    I like your note about the naughty and nice list. I think there should be a third list maybe for transitions between naughty and nice. I’d probably be stuck on that list perpetually.

    Awesome article and really dug it!

    Have a great Christmas.

    Reply

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