The Grinch is an aesthetically and morally challenged green hermit who hates the holidays. One year, aided by his nervous but well-meaning dog, he drives a sleigh into Whoville under cover of darkness, steals everyone's presents and blows town.
When Christmas dawns, the denizens of Whoville gather and celebrate as if nothing has happened. This affects the Grinch so much that he gains the physical and emotional strength to save himself, return everything and join the celebration.
What it reveals: If all you see in the holiday is the commercialism, you're bound to hate it. Constant ads? Competitive shopping? Ceaseless frantic carols? Bah, humbug!
The holiday is really about "the family and whatever religious or spiritual" traditions you observe, says Timothy Hayes, president of Landmark Financial Advisory Services in Pittsford, N.Y. "It's the notion that what really matters is time spent together and charity. And not the running around and gift buying. The lesson is: Don't allow yourself to be lulled in."
Revelation for cynics: Finding that balance is a process. Some days you're a happy resident of Whoville. Some days you're the Grinch. And sometimes you feel like that peripatetic little dog -- just hanging onto the sleigh for dear life.