How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Other Holiday Robbery Stories

As we approach the fourth night of Hanukkah and with Christmas just around the corner, it’s time to put together the last minute touches for the holidays. Hanukkah presents wrapped? Check. Stockings hung on the fireplace? Check. Alarm systems on the house active? Check?

You may not have noticed, but so many Christmas stories and movies employ the familiar theme of burglars robbing people during the holidays: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Bad Santa, Home Alone and all of its sequels. Our society seems to have a fascination with people who are perpetually on Santa’s “naughty list.” Take for instance this article from the Evening public ledger in Philadelphia, PA.

Evening public ledger December 24, 1921, Night Extra, Page 3, Image 3 http://tinyurl.com/73y2clq

And this news clipping from the Scott County kicker in Benton, Mo. is another example of the bad guys making the top stories over the winter season.

Scott County kicker., January 10, 1914, Image 3 http://tinyurl.com/7aavk6k

Christmas robberies make for great stories. There’s a sense of holiday spirit, adventure, and the good guy always getting the last laugh. Take for instance this story from The Sunday Oregonian about a young woman who saves Christmas day from a robber set out to ruin it all. Betty, a young and brave girl headed to see her mother, encounters a robbery in progress while she’s traveling. Thanks to her quick wit, she’s able to trick the robber into leaving his captives, allowing her to take them all to safety.

The Sunday Oregonian December 18, 1904, Image 44 http://tinyurl.com/8xnksfa

So this holiday season, avoid becoming part of a headline, and have a safe and merry season. From all of us here at Chronicling America, lock your doors!

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