‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’: Things You Never Noticed

There’s a statue of another Dr. Seuss character in Whoville.

arrow pointing to horton elephant statue in how the grinch stole christmas


There are a few references to other Dr. Seuss characters.

Universal Pictures

There are lots of fun architectural features in Whoville, including an elephant statue that seems to be a reference Dr. Seuss’ “Horton Hears a Who.”

In his story, the titular elephant saves the city of Whoville (which exists on a tiny speck of dust), so it makes sense that they’d have a statue for him in the town.

Jim Carrey also voiced both the Grinch and Horton in film adaptations of the stories.

The film’s currency references American coins with a Whoville twist.

arrows pointing to the money in how the grinch stole christmas


Bills and coins are visible in a cash register.

Universal Pictures

Whoville is an eccentric town where “Who” is added to essentially everything, from people’s names to holiday festivities.

While Whos are shopping at the start of the movie, viewers can see even the coins being placed in the cash register have “e pluribus whonum” written on them.

This appears to be a Whoville adaptation of the US’ latin motto “e pluribus unum,” (“out of many, one”), which is stamped on American coins.

A detailed Whoville post-office logo can be seen on uniforms.

arrow pointing at whoville post office logo on lou lou who's uniform


The costuming in the film is very detailed.

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Cindy Lou Who’s father, Lou Lou Who, works at the Whoville post office.

The logo can be seen on the sleeve of his uniform as well as around the post office when he’s sorting presents.

There are also detailed stickers on the presents they sort, some of which say “Do not open till Christmas.”

The Grinch is the only character without Who in his name, as shown by the mailboxes and phone directory.

arrow pointing at grinch mailbox behind cindy lou who in how the grinch stole christmas


Most of the characters have Who somewhere in their names.

Universal Pictures

When Cindy Lou and her father are talking in the post office, the Grinch’s empty mailbox is discussed.

The Grinch seems to be the only one without any mail and the only resident whose name doesn’t have “Who” somewhere in it.

Other Whoville names that appear on nearby mail slots include C. Whovine, M.M. Whovier, and J. Whobo.

Later, when the Grinch reads from the phone directory, he only reads last names under “Who.”

The Grinch drops a present that disappears in the next shot.

side by side screen grabs of a present error in how the grinch stole christmas


The other presents around it stay consistent though.

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While rearranging packages in the mail room, the Grinch drops a yellow present on his left side.

A second later, when the Grinch turns around, the package is no longer on the floor. But all the other scattered presents look the same.

After Betty Lou Who uses all the lights in the house as decorations, Lou Lou Who uses a candelabra for light.

the lou whos using a candelabra in how the grinch stole christmas


All of their electricity went to their decorations.

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When the Grinch prank calls the Lou Who family, Lou is holding a candelabra while he answers the phone.

It’s a small detail that shows that Betty Lou Who really used all the lights in the house as Christmas decorations, as is earlier implied when she even repurposes her chandelier.

Cindy also uses a flashlight in her room on the same night.

The Grinch’s answering-machine message seems to reference a famous horror movie.

the grinch in how the grinch stole christmas


It seems to be a reference to “Scream.”

Universal Pictures

When the Grinch checks his answering machine, he listens to his outgoing message, which includes, “If you utter so much as one syllable, I’ll hunt you down and gut you like a fish.”

The line seems to be a reference to “Scream,” when the killer says into the phone, “You hung up on me again, I’ll gut you like a fish.”

Only the first line of the newspaper article about the Grinch rhymes.

arrow pointing at newspaper article in how the grinch stole christmas


The line rhymes like a Dr. Seuss book.

Universal Pictures

The first line of the newspaper article about the Grinch has the same rhyme pattern as the narration (and mimics Dr. Seuss’ rhyming style), but the rest of the article is written in regular prose.

The rhyming line is, “As the Christmas season draws excitingly near, someone spotted the Grinch we fear.”

The Grinch’s Christmas drawing shows Santa’s sleigh exploding.

arrow pointing at grinch's christmas drawing of snata's sleigh in how the grinch stole christmas


The flashback scene tells us a lot about the misunderstood villain.

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During the flashback showing the Grinch as a child, he can be seen drawing a dark holiday picture.

The image shows Santa flying out of an exploding sleigh pulled by reindeer, one of which appears to be wearing a cast.

There is also a speech bubble from Santa’s mouth saying he blames the elves for the sleigh’s malfunction.

The schoolbooks the children are seen with are about Christmas.

students in the classroom in the flashback scene of how the grinch stole christmas


The town is pretty obsessed with Christmas.

Universal Pictures

The children of Whoville learn about Christmas in school, and their classroom is fully decorated for the holiday.

The building blocks in the back of the classroom seem to spell “merry,” and one of the schoolbooks the children are holding is green and red with “Christmas” on the front.

The invitation Cindy hands the Grinch doesn’t have any information about where the celebration is.

invitation for the whoville celebration in how the grinch stole christmas


There’s very little detail on the invitation.

Universal Pictures

Cindy Lou gives the Grinch an invitation that declares he’s the Holiday Cheermeister.

The invitation also reiterates that it’s the 1,000th Whobilation celebration, as mentioned at the start of the movie.

But there isn’t any information about where the celebration takes place, and even though it says to “RSVP ASAP,” there’s no contact listed.

When the Grinch tests his sleigh, there’s obviously no one in it when it hits the wall.

grinch's sleigh exploding and hitting the wall in how the grinch stole christmas


The special effects aren’t great.

Universal Pictures

After the Grinch hatches his evil plan, he tests out his sleigh by driving it directly into a wall while wearing clothing usually seen on crash-test dummies.

But when the sleigh crashes, it’s obvious that there’s no one in. Instead, it just looks like bits of clothing and props are hitting the wall.

Cindy Lou Who seems to be eating a plate of green eggs and ham.

arrow pointing to cindy lu who's plate of green eggs and ham in how the grinch stole christmas


She seems to be eating a famous Dr. Seuss dish.

Universal Pictures

At the end of the film, as the Grinch is preparing to carve the roast beast for the Christmas feast, the camera pans past Cindy Lou Who.

All of the green food on her plate resembles green eggs and ham, which is another reference to a famous Dr. Suess story.

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