For most people, How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a beloved holiday TV special. The 1966 adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s classic story was a revelation in its time. Per Forbes, it was produced on a $300,000 budget — the equivalent of about $2.2 million now, which was unheard of back then — and premiered to an audience of 38 million people. Now, 52 years later, it’s still a go-to holiday special. It’s been adapted into movies starring Jim Carrey and, most recently, Benedict Cumberbatch. It was even turned into a Broadway musical. The TV special, with its blazing green Grinch character and brightly colored dreamworld version of Whoville, is so ubiquitous, in fact, that it’s easy to forget that it all started with a book. Six years ago, my father-in-law gifted me a copy, and my family has been reading it as our special Christmas Eve bedtime story ever since.
The holiday season is replete with unique family traditions, but the Christmas Eve bedtime story is by far my favorite. It’s the collective deep breath I take with my husband and children before the chaos of Christmas day begins, after the cookies have been baked and the gifts have been wrapped, and the White Elephant parties have all been dutifully attended. We snuggle up on the couch in our special Christmas pajamas and read the sacred Christmas Eve story. There can only be one — in my version of this tradition, at least. When I was growing up, our official Christmas Eve story was ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, so naturally I tried to impress that one on my kids as well. But once we got our copy of the classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas, there was no going back.