Any story in a show that is a take on How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (even if it's a different holiday).
Basically, a villainous character attempts to stop a beloved holiday from coming by stealing all the material elements of the occasion. However, he is stunned to see that all his victims care about is the holiday's true spiritual significance, which he could not steal. The villain is so profoundly moved that he has a change of heart, returns all his loot without prompting and is welcomed to celebrate the occasion with his former victims.
The story isn't in the public domain, but as long as they are clear parodies, the plot isn't violating any copyrights.
Compare Saving Christmas.
Not to be confused with The Grinch, which is the name for a character type (albeit one which might be likely to try this ploy).
- Back when Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Capitol Steps did "How the Ging-Grinch Stole Congress."
- Justice League Unlimited fanfic: How the Question Stole Christmas.
- The fan film How the Sith stole Christmas.
- The fanfic How Akuma Kicked Christmas' Ass
- Parsee from the Touhou Steals the Precious Christmas.
- How Battler Stole Witchmas.
- FromMy Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, we have This Holiday is Going to be Perfect, whose sole chapter is known as "How Chrysalis stole Hearth's Warming Eve".
- The Christmas Episode of Princess Tutu Abridged, entitled How Drosselmeyer Stole the Abridged Series.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series has How the Thief King Stole Slavemas.
- In an almost literal capacity, Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas gets it in his skull that he and the rest of Halloween Town's citizens can take over Christmas that year. They make presents for all of the children in the human realm (all of which designed to frighten rather than bring joy), kidnap Santa Claus with Jack replacing him (putting him in danger at the hands of local criminal Oogie Boogie), and essentially hijack the season. It is not until the National Guard literally blows Jack back to his senses (out of the sky) does he try to set things right.
- Just Shoot Me! had "How the Finch Stole Christmas"
- A How I Met Your Mother episode entitled "How Lily Stole Christmas." Narrator Ted, relating the story to his teenaged children, substitutes "grinch" for "A Very Bad Word." Lily, upset over being called a c—-, takes away all the Christmas decorations. At this point, Ted actually does call her a grinch.
- Malcolm in the Middle had one where Lois took away Christmas until the boys behaved themselves, which they did, until they decided to sneak behind her back to open the presents. Though Lois herself regretted stealing Christmas five minutes into it, as part of the episode's moral that only the most black-hearted person would try to steal Christmas, a holiday the show defines as "unconditional generosity".
- The X-Files had "How the Ghosts Stole Christmas", continuing their tradition of rather morbid Christmas episodes by having Mulder and Scully go ghost-hunting on Christmas Eve. What they don't know is that the ghosts are real, are under a murder-suicide pact, and are desperate to get another couple to re-enact it.
- Sue Sylvester, in "A Very Glee Christmas".
- Radio's The Bob and Tom Show had the skit "The Griswold Who Stole Christmas", in which co-host Tom Griswold steals the presents from the show's other regulars.
- WKQX-Q101 has "The Night We Stole Christmas," a live concert every December.
- There are two instances of this in Hatoful Boyfriend Holiday Star, and neither completely follows this trope. In The Christmas Thieves, Miru and Kaku steal trees, assaulting people and blowing things up to get to them. They aren't very bright and don't think at all about what impact this might have, they just really want all the trappings. This is Japan, where Christmas is more of a romantic holiday than taken seriously; the Buddhist main character doesn't think very highly of the holiday but scolds the twins, saying that plenty of people like it and it's mean to ruin their fun.
- Legumentines, in-universe, is a descendant of Valentines in which beans are exchanged. Tohri decides to ruin it out of spite - no one gave him any beans! how dare people have fun without him! - and decides to buy up all the beans the day before the holiday to prevent anyone else from having them. He's stopped halfway through when someone gives him "courtesy beans".
- And Shine Heaven Now's 2004 "How the Grinch Canceled Christmas'' arc.
- Penny Arcade's Christmas 2009 story arc is How the Illithid stole Lolthmas.
- The New Adventures Of Queen Victoria is currently◊ doing a◊ parody with Osama bin Laden.
- The now-defunct sprite comic Insonicnia's special "How The Eggman Stole Christmas", with a twist: Eggman planned to steal everything while wearing a Santa suit as camouflage... and then literally steal the holiday away by re-delivering the gifts as himself to make people think he was the one who sent them in the first place and thus make himself popular.
- Brawl in the Family has a take. And in-universe, he pulls that stunt every year. Enough that the other villains rob his house, knowing that he'll be gone.
- Far Out There has How the Caligaris Stole Christmas. Inverted in that the theft in question is actually meant to SAVE Christmas (for Jenna, at least).
- The Axe Cop Christmas Special uses some of the same ideas, but it's definitely not played straight; call it a parody or subversion or something. There's a whole planet of Christmas monsters (who look kind of like the Grinch) that steal all the presents from all planets because it's the only way they can have a Christmas. Axe Cop steals the presents back and delivers them again. Then, gaining the power of Christmas, he gives all the Christmas monsters presents of their own. They go back to celebrate happily... until it turns out the presents were all full of bombs and the whole planet explodes, saving Christmas forever.
- Alex himself does it in Guest Strips in Captain SNES: The Game Masta. He's mostly doing it to screw with the censor-slash-narrator who wants him to get into the holiday spirit in precisely the way it thinks is best, whether he likes it or not, and he ends the series with a Take That! at the narrator that stuns it so much that it stops censoring him.
- /co/ has produced "How the Rorschach Stole Christmas" and "How Larfleeze Stole Christmas"
- /a/ has produced How the Battler stole Witchmas.
- How Growing Up Stole Christmas
- How The Frynch Stole Twitmas, by Mrs Edna Fry.
- How the Stritch Stole Christmas. About Elaine Stritch.
- The Angry Video Game Nerd did this for the 2010 Christmas Episode, where the Nerd steals everyone's good games and replaces them with bad ones. The gamers down in Gameville all laughed at the bad games.
- The Nostalgia Critic review of The Grinch (the Jim Carrey version) is played up like a parody of the original story. He's not trying to steal Christmas, but their enjoyment of that movie.
- Spoofed and subverted in "The First Neumono Christmas". How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is explicitly referenced, and the Big Bad's plan is to use the resultant sadness of the neumono race to power his superweapon. However, these being neumono, they instead react with anger, foiling his plans and causing a huge mess for the police to clean up.
- How the Stephen Stole Christmas
- In The Grossery Gang webseries' 2017 "Christmas Episode" features Vac Attack attempting to ruin "Grossmas" for the Grosseries by stealing their presents. Guest Grossery PukieHurlC (voiced by YouTube toy reviewer CookieSwirlC) plays the role of Cindy Lou.
- The Simpsons:
- Homer has stolen Christmas a few times, though he had good reasons. For example, in "Tis the Fifteenth Season":
Homer: You're a smart one, Homer J.,
You're as crafty as a skunk.
You'll make everybody happy when they're rid of Flanders' junk,
I'd call you a double bacon genius-burger,
And just a little drunk!
- In "The Old Man and the Lisa", Mr. Burns is said to have stolen Christmas from 1981-1985.
- Homer has stolen Christmas a few times, though he had good reasons. For example, in "Tis the Fifteenth Season":
- A less direct example is Bowser in the Super Mario World Christmas episode.
- There was one short TV parody called "How the Grinchy-Poo Stole Christmas!" from the South Park episode, "Merry Christmas, Charlie Manson!" Also some characters from the episodes "Cartmanland" and "Woodland Critter Christmas" parody some "lines" they borrowed from ''How the Grinch Stole Christmas!"
- From 2002 to 2005, Nickelodeon ran a series of shorts parodying the classic 1960s Christmas specials with the Nicktoon characters every December. One segment, titled How the You-Know-Who Stole the You-Know-What!, featured Angelica from Rugrats, as "Grinchelica", stealing all the candy from the other Nicktoon characters.
- A episode of The Emperor's New School does this. Although it is based on Halloween rather than Christmas. The episode is even called "The Yzma That Stole Kuzcoween".
- This may have been before the original story was even written - a Tom Terrific storyline had bad guy Crabby Appleton steal all the holidays from the calendars, so he could have them all to himself as the kids had to stay in school. Being who he is, he doesn't have a change of heart.
- On The Real Ghostbusters episode "The Halloween Door," a prudish old man who hates Halloween invents a device that will make all the paraphernalia of Halloween disappear. The consequences in the supernatural world are dire, for this allows a horde of demons to return to Earth. And true to the "stealing Halloween" plot, Halloween is restored because the "true meaning of Halloween" is the joy of children at play, and a little girl (who even looks a lot like Cindy Lou) expresses her faith and lack of fear in standing up to the demon lord. The Grinch figure, in spite of having seen the chaos, still denies that it was his fault, and continues to hate Halloween and wish to suppress it.
- Spoofed on Kim Possible, when Ron believed (for no apparent reason; it wasn't a Christmas Episode or anything) that the Evil Plan behind Dr. Drakken's mischief-of-the-week was to "steal Christmas." Kim argued, and was correct in this, that the plan was Drakken's usual pursuit of that more sensible cliché, taking over the world.
- Dr. Claw of Inspector Gadget once tries to steal all of the toys from Santa Claus before he could deliver them on Christmas Eve.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- A minor example: "Tanks for the Memories" has Rainbow Dash trying to stop winter from coming so she can keep her pet turtle from hibernating. At one point she makes a face reminiscent of the Grinch's.
- "A Hearth's Warming Tail" is mostly Yet Another Christmas Carol, but the start of Snowfall Frost's story is about her trying to ruin Hearth's Warming for everypony out of a belief that it's a big waste of time that they could spend bettering themselves instead. It includes the aspect of stealing some trappings of the holiday, although in this case it's to use as components for her memory-erasing spell. And, as she discovers, Hearth's Warming literally keeps Equestria safe from Windigos, who would turn Equestria into a frozen wasteland if not kept away by the holiday celebrations; she promptly changes her ways when she realizes what her actions would result in for the entire country.
- In an episode of The PJs Thurgood becomes a repo man so he can earn enough money to buy his wife the computer she's been wanting. Right at the time many of the residents in The Projects had stopped paying bills on their new purchases so his job becomes easy.