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How A Christmas Carol Re-Shaped the Way We Celeberate Christmas

Traditional Christmas
Traditional Christmas

The story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly and mean spirited man with no Christmas spirit has become a fixture of popular culture.Reading the story or watching movie adapataions of the Christmas Carol, it is easy to assume that the world that Dickens described was a true representation of Victorian England and Christmas customs, such as eating a big turkey, getting together with family, wishing each other "Merry Christmas", After all this is basically how people in the United States, Canada, England and celebrate the holiday.

But this assumption is incorrect. In fact, much of how we celebrate Christmas, and many of its more secular traditions are an invention of Victorian England and are no more ancient than about a 150 years. In fact, Dickens and his short masterpiece, "A Christmas Carol" are largely responsible for most of our Christmas traditions. Some might say that in fact he is to blame for those traditions, which have grown into today's grotesque excesses of commercialism, with people fighting hand to hand to seize the latest toy fad.

Christmas in Victorian England

Before Dickens' Christmas Carol, Christmas was not a major holiday and it did not feature many of the customs and traditions that we take for granted today.In fact, while Christmas was acknowledged in Christian churches, which held special services, the holiday was not observed with much fanfare beyond that. As a Christian religious event, Christmas has always held less importance than Easter. As a secular, or popular holiday, Victorian Christmases were not a time for friends and family to gather and exchange warm and fuzzy feelings, and to celebrate generosity to gift giving.

If Victorians observed Christmas at all, it was generally by getting drunk and belligerent. Christmas at the time had a bad reputation as an excuse for drunken revelry.

People did not even wish each other Merry Christmas, before Dickens came along. It was Dickens who popularized this phrase.Useful Information:


Contents of the Christmas Carol

  • STAVE  I
    Marley's Ghost

    The First of the Three Spirits

    The Second of the Three Spirits

    The Last of the Three Spirits

  • STAVE  V
    The End of it

  • Christmas Carol Illustrations


    Marley’s Ghost

          J. Leech

    Ghosts of Departed Usurers


    Mr. Fezziwig’s Ball


    Scrooge Extinguishes the First
    of the Three Spirits


    Scrooge’s Third Visitor


    Ignorance and Want


    The Last of the Spirits


    Scrooge and Bob Cratchit


    Charles Dickens

    The Old Curiosity Shop

    Oliver Twist

    Charles Dickens

  • Biography
  • Personal Life
  • Life and Times
  • Children
  • Poet's Corner
  • Signature
  • Photographs
  • Summary and Analysis

  • Oliver Twist
  • David Copperfield
  • Bleak House
  • Dombey and Son
  • Martin Chuzzlewit
  • Old Curiosity Shop
  • Pickwick Papers
  • Christmas Carol
  • Tale of Two Cities
  • Little Dorrit
  • Pictures from Italy
  • Grimaldi
  • Child's History of England
  • Magic Wishbone
  • Great Expectations
  • Dickens Illustrations
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