(Another month, another hiatus, I know. But I wanted something out by Christmas, so here it is. I’ll get back on schedule soon, I promise!!)
A Christmas Carol more or less invented the modern idea of Christmas, at least in the English-speaking world. I’m not making this up– after the Jacobians were deposed during the English Civil War, the Puritans took over England, and the Puritans hated Christmas. Between its Pagan roots and associations with the Catholic church, it wasn’t exactly the most popular holiday. It was the American writer and essayist Washington Irving who kicked off the Christmas revival by detailing the Christmas traditions of rural England, as they hadn’t really had Christmas in any of the major metropolitan areas. A Christmas Carol took these new ideas and traditions, and brought a Puritan main character to understanding why these traditions and why Christmas can be a force for good.
It’s also one of the most adapted Christmas stories of all time– either tied with or just edging out It’s A Wonderful Life. Everyone from Jim Carry to George C. Scott to Barbie have played variations of Ebenezer Scrooge to… varying effects. Here are some that are worth looking at.