My favorite scene in How The Grinch Stole Christmas (the cartoon) is right at the beginning: when we see how the Whos down in Whoville prepare for Christmas on Christmas Eve.

In Dr. Seuss’s world, the decorating is of course nonsensical. Yes, there are wreaths aplenty and a giant Christmas tree, but there are also bingle balls and whofoo fluff. The message that comes through is that what we’re doing doesn’t matter as much as how—with joy, with excitement, with sacred urgency. Christmas is soon, and it deserves our preparations. As the Whos sing joyfully,

“Trim every blessed needle

“On the blessed Christmas tree

“Christmas comes tomorrow

“Trim you, trim me!”

This year, many of us cling to our Christmas trees, baking, and music with extra fervor, as we prepare to close out the most difficult year in recent memory. It’s certainly a comfort to bask in the anticipation of something good, something to celebrate.

But here the Whos have something else to teach us. For as much as we may love the spectacle of Christmas—or, as the Grinch complains, all the “NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE”—Christmas is much more than that. Even as they encounter a Christmas morning stripped bare of everything festive, shiny, and bright, the Whos still sing,

“Christmas Day will always be

“Just as long as we have we.”

Maybe our Christmas plans this year aren’t what we’d hoped they would be. But far or near, over FaceTime or in person, we still have we.

This playlist features music from the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the more recent film adaptations, and the musical. As we trim up the tree in these last few days, and enter into the holiday we hold so dear, may we be ready to receive Christmas’s abundant blessings, however big or small. As the Whos sing, and they sing, and they “SING! SING! SING! SING!”:

“Fah who foraze, dah who doraze

“Welcome Christmas, bring your light

“Fah who foraze, dah who doraze

Welcome in the cold of night.”