the 2020 grinch

HOLIDAY: A Grinchy Christmas Wish.



Christmas really is a magical time. The music, the decorations, the vibe are evident of a joyous, family time. Radio stations and SiriusXM started playing Christmas music the day after Halloween…and for good reason.

For many folks this year is just plain difficult. COVID, separation, loss of what’s normal, and loss of loved ones during the year call for a more somber Christmas. I know, the Christmas in 2000 and 2012 were notable for the absence of my dad and mom respectively and in 1995 and 2007 for Terri’s dad and mom.

Yet, somehow, the Guth and O’Shields’ clans persevered through the pain. Christmas was never quite the same but for us the deeper meaning of the season brought comfort and peace.

Through the sadness and separation of 2020 this Christmas remains comforting and vibrant. Our schools had different ways to celebrate this year. Gone were the traditional Christmas chorus and band concerts; in were the videos and drive-throughs ... Clinton Elementary had a wonderful drive-through with student milk jugs all aglow in Christmas decorations and Eastside Elementary had the best Polar Express drive-through this side of the North Pole. Clinton Middle videoed their concert. 

Things were just different, not necessarily worse at all. I am amazed at the boundless creativity of our teachers and administrators. COVID throws a curveball and another one and we adapt and still manage a base hit. 

The classic Christmas movie/book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” shares a lot in common with COVID. The Grinch (aka COVID) tries to remove the joy of the season. In fact, he is successful…he steals the stockings, the presents, the Who’s roast beast feast, the trees, and even the yule logs in the fire. If it could be stolen, the Grinch took it.

Waiting for the wails of disappointed children and the mournful music on top of Mount Crumpet, the Grinch was surprised to hear singing…in spite on no Christmas trappings. 

“He hadn’t stopped Christmas from coming! It came/ Somehow or other, it came just the same/ And the Grinch with his grinch feet ice-cold in the snow/ Stood puzzling and puzzling. ‘How could it be so? / It came without ribbons! It came without tags!/ It came without packages, boxes or bags’/ He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore/ Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before/ Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store/ Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

COVID like the Grinch stole a lot this year … loved ones, planned activities, and disrupted routines; however, as the Grinch realizes, Christmas is more than the “things” we think it to be. It is a lot more.

As the Grinch movie ends, the narrator from the story reveals the most poignant and powerful message, “Welcome Christmas. Bring your cheer, Cheer to all Who’s, far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp/So long as we have hands to grasp/Christmas Day will always be/Just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand/ Heart to heart and hand in hand.

Yes, we all have lost during 2020; however, we may have also gained…resilience, perseverance, patience, hope, even mercy, and the retention of those precious memories of lost loved ones.

May you have a wonderful Christmas and remember, we are as happy as we choose to be. Choose happiness and love and may the Peace of Christmas abide with you now and forever.


David O’Shields is Superintendent of School District 56.

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