First read: 1968 (best guess)
Owned since: 1990 (approximately)
I think I bought this book as a gift for my nephew George, but didn't give it to him because I sliced the cover when opening the box. I probably still owe him a copy, come to think of it.
It's a little early for this book, but Anna and I saw the Boston Pops' holiday show last night at the Augusta Civic Center, and a group called Cantus did a wonderful choral version of the Grinch story. They're touring; if you get a chance to see them this season, don't hesitate.
If you live under a rock and don't know the book or the TV show, it's the story of the Grinch, who lives just above Whoville and hates Christmas, which the Whos love. He can't stand the noise of Christmas; he can't stand the singing. It might be because his heart is two sizes too small. So he steals all the presents and ornaments from the Whos, and carries them away to his mountain hideaway -- but the Whos sing anyway. Because Christmas isn't about the presents or the decorations. Seeing this, the Grinch's heart melts, and he learns to embrace the season and the Whos.
I will always associate this book with the Christmas of 1994. Mom had a seizure a week or so before the holiday; it was her first major health crisis, and it was terrifying. She went into the hospital, and all of us kids came home. All I wanted for Christmas that year was for Mom to come home -- and she did, on Christmas Eve. She had been so sick that she hadn't done any shopping that year, but it didn't matter.
Since then, I have not been able to read these lines without tearing up:
Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!
He HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
Hope it comes for you this year, too.