How the Grinch Stole Christmas –or- It’s a Wonderful Life

Merry Christmas -or- The Greatest Gift

"All the Whos were all dreaming sweet dreams without care When he came to the first house in the square...." from How the Grinch Stole Christmas

‘Twas the Eve before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even my computer mouse. Many dreams are driven by our traditions, Christmas is one such traditional value and dream. Reviewing the dreams I have received about “Christmas”, there are many that speak about this time of the season (Christmas), surprisingly however, many read like they’re out of Dr Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (watch, the music video “The Grinch song”, stick, stank, stunk!). The Grinch eventually learns the community meaning of Whoville’s Christmas, and returns the gifts he stole.

There are other good Christmas films, such as “Miracle on 34th Street”, “Christmas Carol”, “Scrooged” and “White Christmas”. Of course, one of my favorites is, “It’s a Wonderful Life”. The film, based on the short story, “The Greatest Gift” by Phillip Van Doren Stern introduces us to the character George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart), a man down on his luck and at the end of his rope contemplates suicide on Christmas Eve. The dream vision plotline is similar to a Christmas Carol in that the agonistic and misanthropic communal market forces of greed, deceit, malice and cruelty (embodied by the misanthropic Mr Potter) play a central role in the tale. George feels that he has sacrificed his hopes and dreams of far away adventure, only to be surrounded by an immanent scandal in a small town in which he felt oftimes being overburdened and imprisoned by his civic responsibilities.

Believing suicide as his only means of escape, divine providence intervenes in the form of a guardian angel and spiritual guide Clarence. Clarence accompanies George in observing the consequences to an American small town (Bedford Falls) if he had not been alive. As if in a dream, George is given the gift of seeing how time would unfold in his community, if he had not lived and made his contribution. The psychological perspective that best fits the suicidal problems George is faced with, is Alfred Adler’s “Individual Psychology”. Adler believed that people develop a “social feeling”, a sense of belonging that connects individuals to their community, the ecology of nature and the cosmos. In some, this communal feeling becomes arrested and many feel alienated. Once George is able to see his Adlerian cosmic connection to his family, to his wife, to his children, to his community, he no longer feels the need to do away with himself. George can embrace and understand his was “A Wonderful Life”.

Seasons Greetings to all, and to All a good night.

All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.