“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”
from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

 

Perhaps the most famous Christmas story in English literature is A Christmas Carol, published in 1843 by Charles Dickens. One Christmas Eve, thanks to the visit of four spirits, the grumpy Ebenezer Scrooge changes overnight, transforming into a generous and joyful man. He wakes up on Christmas morning full of cheer; ready to celebrate and give presents. He buys a turkey for his poor employee and shares a family lunch with his nephew

Dickens’ story, with its snow, carol singers and decorated trees was so popular that he became known as ‘the man who invented Christmas’. His descriptions show us how people celebrated in the Victorian Age and provide us with a nostalgic image of a traditional Christmas too. Along with the decorations and presents, the family values of goodwill and charity became a fundamental part of the festivities. His stories encouraged people to forget their problems and to be happy, if just for one day. Some people say that it was Dickens who introduced the greeting ‘Merry Christmas’ for the first time. He became so associated with Christmas that when he died in 1870 a young girl in London asked: ‘Mr Dickens dead? Then will Father Christmas die too?’

Merry Christmas from Black Cat!

Illustration by Anna+Elena Balbusso, taken from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Reading and Training, Step 4 (B2.1)