If the Grinch stole Christmas in 2023, it would be worth $14 million in Whoville goods

If the Grinch stole Christmas in 2023, it would be worth $14 million in Whoville goods

Imagine the Grinch hauling the entirety of Whoville’s Christmas goods up Mount Crumpit.

Fast-forward to today in 2023, with inflation, Christmas spending higher than ever, and the fast-approaching holidays, the personal finance experts at The Credit Review wanted to know — how much would the Grinch’s Christmas haul have been worth today?

To figure it out, we defined a few key pieces of data:

  • Where is Whoville? Legend has it that the fictional Whoville from_ Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!_ was modeled off of Easthampton, MA. In 2023, the small city had a population of just about 16,045 people, according to Census data.
  • What did the Grinch steal? From the story, “All the presents, the food for the feast, and even the Christmas tree.”
  • How much? According to a survey from the National Retail Federation, the average consumer plans to spend $875 on Christmas-related goods in 2023 (which includes gifts, food, holiday decorations, and other holiday goods).

Multiplying the population of our modern-day Whoville by the average core holiday spending numbers, The Credit Review found:

In 2023, the Grinch would steal $14,039,375 worth of holiday goods.

Ironically, Dr. Seuss was inspired to write the book in 1957 because he was annoyed by the commercialization of Christmas.

Commercialization has increased substantially since then.

The Credit Review_ _calculated that consumers have spent an additional **3.3% **yearly on holiday goods since 1957 — a compounding of holiday spending on top of inflation increases. This calculation comes from a breakdown and deeper data analysis from 24/7 Wall Street’s historical spending report.

The Credit Review Team also found that while spending has increased 3.3% annually, per capita income has only increased 2.1% across the same period.

Using these findings, The Credit Review found that if the Grinch were to steal Christmas in 1957, the year the book was published, he would have stolen the equivalent of $1,198,854 in holiday goods (in 2023 dollars).

Even after adjusting for inflation, American incomes and holiday spending patterns were much smaller in 1957 than in 2023.

In 2023, Americans spent 8.75 times as much on core holiday goods (gifts, food, holiday decorations, and similar items) as in 1957, and that’s not even accounting for holiday travel and additional costs.

The Grinch’s haul keeps getting bigger


The Credit Review’s study reveals that Americans’ holiday spending has skyrocketed in the past several decades, even when accounting for inflation.

U.S. December retail spending has increased in most years since the 2008 financial crisis, except for 2018 and 2022, according to Census data. Americans spent 20% more on retail purchases in December 2022 compared to December 2012 and 61% more than in December 1992 (when adjusted for inflation to December 2022 dollars). Christmas just gets bigger every year.

All those presents put some Americans into debt, too. Half of American consumers expect to take on debt to pay for the holidays in 2023, including 37% who say it’ll take them two or more months to pay off the bills, according to a recent survey by Achieve, a personal finance site.

Even as Americans tell pollsters they’re not happy with the state of the economy, they plan to ramp up holiday spending this year.

According to Adobe Analytics, spending on Black Friday and Cyber Monday significantly increased in 2023. And a poll by Gallup found that holiday sales this year could increase by 6% to 9%. By comparison, retail sales spiked an average of 6.2% during last year’s holiday season between November and December 2022.

All these factors are the primary reason why if the Grinch stole Christmas in 2023, he’d make out with such a huge haul. Given the increased spending on the holidays annually, future would-be Grinches will keep finding larger and larger amounts of presents and Whoville goods to snag.

Gettin’ rich off The Grinch


In the end, the Grinch returned all the goods to the Whoville citizens so they could celebrate Christmas.

But Dr. Seuss and his estate never had to return the millions they’ve made from his numerous beloved best-selling books.

Nearly three decades after his death, Dr. Seuss’s estate earned an estimated $33 million before taxes in 2020. This landed him at #2 on Forbes’ ranking of the Highest-Paid Deceased Celebrities for 2020.

Dr. Seuss claimed the Grinch was based on himself, as his wife’s illnesses and his dismay with the commercialization of Christmas frustrated him around the time he wrote the book.

The Grinch may have returned all of the presents in the books and movies, but Dr. Seuss and his descendants made quite a bit more money, which they’ve kept thanks to his classic tales and modern streaming service royalties.


  • We used estimates from the National Retail Federation, which found that the average consumer plans to spend $875 on Christmas-related goods in 2023. (It’s worth noting we used this more conservative retail estimate to focus on “consumer” spending rather than the recent poll from Gallup asking about Americans’ spending perceptions).
  • Whoville is said to be modeled off of Easthampton, MA, which has a 2023 population of 16,045.
  • Multiplying these two numbers, The Credit Review arrived at a total of $14,039,375.
  • To adjust for 1957 data, The Credit Review calculated consumer spending growth between 1957 and 2015 using data from _24/7 Wall Street. _They found that since 1957, there has been an average 3.3% compound annual growth rate in increased spending every year, on top of inflation changes. This expenditure increase encompasses the entirety of holiday spending, including travel and other spending.


View data spreadsheet here.

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Bryan Huynh

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Bryan Huynh, a committed Product Tester and Writer, ensures that you are well-informed, guiding you in discovering and comparing top-rated financial services, including personal loans, business loans, credit repair, and tax relief.