Watching a Christmas Movie has to rate as one of the top activities of the holiday season. It’s an excuse to get teary, feel good, and something that all the family can enjoy. The Grinch, is a festive animation based on the Dr Seuss book ‘How the Grinch stole Christmas.’ It’s not always easy to find a film that is suitable for the very young all the way up to the older members of a family however this colourful adaptation, rated a U, hits just the right spot.
As films go, it’s certainly one that needs sharing so last weekend Caroline and I took our six year-olds along to the Odeon at Fort Kinnaird to watch it together:
The Grinch and his dog Max live an elaborate cave. His main gripe is with those living in Who-ville and their attitude towards Christmas. With festivities underway the local residents are planning a bigger and better Christmas than ever before. As the enormous tree goes up in Who-ville, it is the trigger for the Grinch to find a way to stop Christmas altogether. With the help of his dog Max, he comes up with a plan to put an end to all of it on Christmas Eve. Benedict Cumberbatch adds just the right amount of darkness and sarcasm as the voice of The Grinch. Whilst the soft dulcet tones of Pharrell Williams are pitched perfectly as the narrator. I think there are probably elements of the Grinch himself in all of us at some point over the Christmas period. If you’re in total denial of any trace of personal bah-humbug, then you will at least recognise it as a trait in someone you know!
The opening scene immediately makes you smile where you see The Grinch choose from a selection of identical outfits all with a feelings written on the hangers – wretched, miserable, very miserable, nasty and grumpy. His general grumpiness and wickedness is funny all on its own.The larger than life reindeer he commandeers adds to the films slapstick humour and throughout the film there are moments where you if you don’t, your children will laugh out loud. Walter, my six year old, thought the whole film was ‘hilarious’ but also totally absorbed the message behind the film. It’s a heartfelt message of empathy towards those that do not enjoy Christmas. Whether it’s an upsetting memory, being alone or just having sadness in their lives, it’s a reminder to everyone that this is a tough time of year for so many.
Given that our plan was to watch a movie about being together, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to also share a meal. So whilst our main destination was obviously the Odeon – we also decided to head to TGI Fridays for dinner.
Caroline and I hadn’t ventured there since student days, but I had heard it was good for those with allergies and remembered it as somewhere fun.
From the moment we sat down, we all just had the best experience. A waiter greeted us warmly with a variety of menus and quickly proceeded to model balloons for the kids. They were also each given colouring sheets but were both obviously delighted with their balloon swords.
The menus were absolutely packed with options for us and honestly – I was a little overwhelmed. But when I admitted to the waiter I hadn’t been in about 10 years he was just super helpful. He offered to tell me about some of his favourites but asked what sort of thing I was thinking of so he could guide me.
But I was really impressed when I asked about dairy-free options for Katie. He immediately fetched me a menu which indicated both gluten and lactose free options, but explained that his manager would take her order and would be supervise that specific meal so they could be sure there was no contamination and could be 100% sure it was prepared properly. The manager appeared to ask what Katie’s allergy specifically was so that she could be sure she was catered for.
Although Katie’s reaction to cow protein isn’t an anaphylactic one she’s been really unwell recently so this level of commitment was so comforting. There wasn’t any waiting for information and it struck me that everything was just done so smoothly.
The kids both opted for a straight forward apple juice but Caroline and I both chose something from the mocktail menu. I opted for a ‘fresh as a cucumber’ which was sweeter than I expected but really was delicious – although would’ve been amazing with some gin!
Katie and I both opted for ribs which were cooked perfectly. But I was interested to note that for both of us our sauce came on the side – knowing how delicious their Jack Daniels sauce is I opted to tip it straight over mine (and half down my jumper) but after Katie tasted hers she opted to eat her ribs plain. She ended up clearing her plate so obviously enjoyed it so I was really glad she had that option!
At the end of the meal, Caroline and I left talking about how pleasant we had found the staff and just how cheery they had been. We surmised they must have a good staff training program but thought it would be very nice if everywhere could adopt that practice!
Overall, we had a great evening and are so grateful to Fort Kinnaird for inviting us along to review the film and gifting us this experience. Between the message of the film, and the thoughtfulness of the staff at TGI Fridays – we left just feeling better.
So as you plod through this busy, tiring and often stressful time of year remember the sanskrit word from yoga philosophy: Ahimsa.