National View: COVID Grinch can't steal our Christmas

From the column: "Sure, COVID-19, you’ve caused a lot of disruption. But you’ve helped open our eyes at the same time."


Sorry, COVID-19, but you’re not going to stop our Christmas cheer this year.

You remind me of the Dr. Seuss Christmas classic, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” The Grinch, you see, is a miserable old grouch. He lives in a cave on a hill and hates the sound of Christmas festivities that take place in Whoville in the valley below. His only source of joy, he initially thinks, is to rob the Whos of their Christmas presents, decorations, and feast. He wants to make the Whos as miserable as he is.

And though he succeeds in taking all of the Whos’ material possessions, the one thing he can’t take is their Christmas joy. He’s shocked on Christmas morning when the Whos gather, hold hands, and sing a joyful carol — not the least bit worried about their material losses.

This year, the stores were emptier. Fewer people were out shopping. There was little of the hustle and bustle that’s so common at this time of year.

But the people who were out appeared to be friendlier and more cheerful than usual.


While driving the other night, I noticed something wonderful: It appears that many more houses are displaying Christmas decorations this year. Whole neighborhoods are lit up with the most beautiful arrangements of Christmas lights. I noticed this all over my city, and it made me smile. I smile because it’s a simple act of defiance in the face of the virus that keeps on causing us trouble. I smile because COVID-19 caused us to focus on one of the greatest gifts of Christmas, which is charitableness.

According to Marketplace, charitable giving has been way up in 2020.

“A lot of the data on charitable giving comes out at the end of the year, but we know from early numbers that people are giving more than in previous years, in particular to food banks, to groups that focus on housing, and to mutual aid groups, which are more grassroots efforts, neighbors helping neighbors,” Marketplace’s Marielle Segarra reported.

COVID-19 may be impeding our traditions and gatherings this year, but it’s not bringing us down. Rather, it’s helping us care more for our neighbors and others in need and who are struggling as a result of the daggone bug.

Sure, COVID-19, you’ve caused a lot of disruption. But you’ve helped open our eyes at the same time.

You’ve helped us identify some among us who enjoy their government powers a little too much — who abuse those powers a little too much.

You’ve helped us identify hypocrites who shut down restaurants and forbid travel and then are caught eating at fancy restaurants after traveling to exotic vacation spots.

You’ve helped us realize that some people in power have little regard for the people they’re supposed to serve and choose not to allow those people to make their own common-sense decisions to, say, protect themselves from the virus while attending church.


I’ve got news for you, COVID-19: We’re going to prevail over you. In fact, we already have. Because the true outcome of your disruptiveness has been to bring out the best in most of us — to bring out our Christmas cheer in abundance.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some Christmas carols to sing.

Tom Purcell is a humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the author of the book, "Misadventures of a 1970's Childhood." He can be reached at

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Tom Purcell

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