The Man Who Invented Christmas

I have just finished watching the movie about Charles Dickens and the writing of “A Christmas Carol” in 1843.  As an inveterate fan of Charles Dickens I have wanted to watch this movie ever since it came out last summer.  Sadly for me, it was not shown in South Jersey!  I’ve no reason why that is so, but it was never at the Regal theaters in my area.  So I was disappointed in my inability to see the movie at Christmastime.

However, it has finally be released for rental, and on Monday I rented it from the Google Movie library, and decided to watch it on Saturday, today.  After accomplishing my errands and runs today, I settled down at 1600, and started playing the movie on my Chromebook.

I was impressed with the movie although at times it was very dark.  But then Dickens had a very dark childhood with the arrest of his father for debt, and it took all of his talents for writing to raise him to the success that he enjoyed in the early nineteenth century.  He had a writers block around 1841 and experienced a loss of confidence.

He determined to write a book about Christmas as he envisioned.  A “Christmas Feast” had devolved from the 4th century into a celebration of revelry and drunkeness after Charlemagne was crowned emperor on Christmas Day 800 A.D..  Indeed by the 17th century the Puritans banned the celebration of Christmas as disreputable.

Dickens and other writers of the early nineteenth century wanted to reinvent the holiday by emphasizing Christmas as a time for family, religion, gift giving, and social reconciliation as opposed to the revelry that had been common historically.

Dickens later claimed that his characters sometimes contributed more to his writing than he himself did.  And in this movie that is certainly true as Scrooge comes to life and leads Dickens into writing the story.  Other characters of “A Christmas Carol” also come to life and interact with Dickens imagination, and finally lead Dickens into ending the book on a happy note as Scrooge himself realizes that Charles Dickens and himself had a similar natures and he appeals to Dickens that he wants to live and change his ways, to keep Christmas in his heart forever forward, and with that Dickens can finally complete the book and get it to the publisher in time to make delivery to the bookshops and be available to the public on December 19, 1843.

It did have an immediate effect on the way that Christmas was celebrated in Great Britain, and eventually the customs would spread throughout the British Empire, and also to Britain’s erstwhile colonies.  I really enjoyed the movie!

For many years I have made it a practice to read the “A Christmas Carol” every year right after Thanksgiving, and I am thinking of adding the practice of watching this movie during the season.  Just as I make it a practice to watch “A Miracle on 34th Street” as well as “Scrooge” the 1951 Alistair Sim version every year.

1 thought on “The Man Who Invented Christmas”

  1. There are a few typos.
    The heading should be “Christmas” instead of “Chrismas”.
    At the end it should be “Alistair Sim” instead of “Alistair Slim”.


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