How The Grinch Stole Christmas!
by Dr Seuss

What Would Jesus Buy?
Directed by Morgan Spurlock

It’s a double-header this year — one book and one film, and I’ve picked each because this has been, in many ways, a not-so-great year and seems to be ending the way it started.

Every year I am amazed by the legions of Advent Calendars — costing not a couple of quid but twenty, or thirty, or forty, or hundreds and even thousands of pounds. And they contain gifts, whereas, in my childhood memories, Advent Calendars were inexpensive and when you opened the flaps as you worked your way through the month to the birth of the Savour of Mankind there would be a seasonal picture. In 2017 a bit of a furore was caused by Greggs (the bakers) deciding to get on the advent-calendar money train, and replacing the Baby Jesus in the manger with a sausage roll. I can’t begin to imagine what was in the mind of the person who came up with that. ‘Hey, I’ve got a brilliant idea! Instead of Mary and Joseph and the rest of them kneeling around a manager with the Holy Child in it, they’re smiling down on a Greggs’ sausage roll!’  What could be wrong about that? I believe that they apologized and removed the offending roll. This is not only the I’m-sorry a century (do whatever you want and then say how sorry you are and go for counselling), it is the century that has taken the importance of making money and owning things to a whole new level.

Which is why I’m recommending a quiet read of Dr Seuss’s brilliant anti-commercialisation of Christmas picture book How The Grinch Stole Christmas! And recommending thinking about What Would Jesus Buy?, a documentary about the Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping, tireless crusaders against the rampant and mindless materialism that seems to rule the world. The Reverend Billy is an activist and performance artist named Bill Talen, who leads his ‘choir’ in protests, demonstrations and shows around the world. They have a website.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas!