“That’s a noise,” grinned the Grinch, “That I simply MUST hear!” So he paused. And the Grinch put his hand to his ear. And he did hear a sound rising over the snow. It started in low. Then it started to grow. But the sound wasn’t sad! Why, this sound sounded merry! It couldn’t be so! But it WAS merry! VERY!

What’s your favorite Christmas movie? For some people, it might be a classic like It’s a Wonderful Life. For others, it might be a less conventional choice like Love Actually, Gremlins or Die Hard. Maybe you prefer more contemporary comedies like Elf or Bad Santa.

Me, I’ve always had a soft spot for the animated Christmas specials on TV. A Charlie Brown Christmas is an obvious choice. I also really like the Garfield Christmas special and the original “Mr. Hankey” episode from South Park. But one scene in particular that sticks out in my mind comes from 1966’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, based on the Dr. Seuss book of the same name.

No, the scene I’m thinking of is not when the Grinch is confronted by little Cindy Lou Who. It’s not when we see oversized antlers getting strapped onto the head of the poor little dog. It’s the scene where the Grinch looks down at Whoville, looks away to think, and then peers back toward the town to hear the Whovians singing.

He stared down at Whoville! The Grinch popped his eyes! Then he shook! What he saw was a shocking surprise! Every Who down in Whoville, the tall and the small, was singing! Without any presents at all! He HADN’T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME! Somehow or other, it came just the same!

We’ve crowded the holidays with a lot of extra decoration, more obligation and additional events.

Seeing spectacular Christmas light displays in the middle of the forest can indeed be magical, especially for the little ones. Taking the time to get a photo with Santa sounds worthwhile. Hustling and bustling to find just the right gifts for everyone on your list sounds like an admirable thing to do as a consumer actively contributing to society.

But these are all extras. They’re fluff. As Frank Costanza once said, “I find tinsel distracting.”

The spirit of Christmas isn’t about presents or cookies or ambitious home decorations that would be the envy of Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor. It’s about spending quality time with loved ones and sharing those precious memories. I’m not a religious man, but I’m never offended when someone wishes me a merry Christmas so long as the intent comes from the right place. It’s the thought that counts.

“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.” “Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!” And what happened then? Well, in Whoville they say, that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day!

So, have yourself a merry little Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, an incredible Kwanzaa or just a delightful remainder of December. Don’t be a mean one, Mr. Grinch. We could all stand to have bigger hearts now and throughout the year.