Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol~revisiting a classic


The book that shaped our modern Christmas season like no other is Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. First published in 1843 the book tells the story of a bitter old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation resulting from a supernatural visit by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future.

The book was published in early Victoria era Britain at a time of great nostalgia about Christmas. And the book became a great influence rejuvenating old Christmas traditions and has become probably the world’s most influential Christmas piece of literature that has been adapted many times in film and theater plays. The great thing about A Christmas Carol is the mix of images of joy and warmth in contrast to images of darkness and despair. The character of Scrooge becomes the embodiment of winter, and as winter is followed by spring, so also is Scrooge’s cold hardheartedness restored to goodwill and compassion.

Dickens was inspired to create a powerful tale of help and love as a result of his own experience in childhood and the fate of the poor in the Britain of his time. In fact, while the British Empire was at its peak the workers in the mines and factories – often still children – were living in miserable conditions. And so Dickens used the Christmas tale as a tool to remind people of the need to look and care for each other. The book therefore didn’t loose much of its important message. Although child labor has been abolished in the West and many countries worldwide, many still live under poor conditions. And so A Christmas Carol is highlighting compassion and love for those that are worse off.

The tale begins on a “cold, bleak, biting” Christmas Eve exactly seven years after the death of Scrooge’s business partner Jacob Marley. For seven years, he runs his business exploiting his employee Bob Cratchit, and spends a bitter treatment to his family and acquaintances. Yet on this day he is visited by the ghost of his dead partner and is told that he will be visited by three ghosts. The first spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Past, shows Scrooge that he was once a happy young man, carefree and in love but money became his greatest desire. The Ghost of Christmas Present shows takes him to scenes of Christmas joy.

The ghost also shows him the Christmas dinner at the home of Bob Cratchit and introduces his youngest son Tiny Tim, a boy full of happiness despite seriously ill. The ghost tells Scrooge that the boy will die unless the course of events changes. He is then visited by the Ghost of Christmas Future who is showing him the day after Christmas. Tiny Tim has died because his father could not afford medical treatment. He then visits a funeral that is only attended by local businessmen under the premise that free lunch is provided. Scrooge finds out that its his name on the tombstone and asks for an opportunity to change himself and awakens on Christmas morning with love and joy in his heart.

He is giving Cratchit a raise and starts to treat everyone with joy and love. By this the once bitter Scrooge becomes the embodiment of the Christmas spirit. And if you wonder if this is a story your kids would like to know we have a movie version they will love – Mickey’s Christmas Carol. The figure of Ebeneezer Scrooge is played by Scrooge Duck, of course! And as you probably guess the name is no coincidence. When The Walt Disney Company invented the figure of an older Scottish gazillion- aire in 1947 they named him after no one else but the main character in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.


Nils is the founder of baby international, he’s a dad and also an advocate that our community will be renamed Shanghai Mamas (+ Papas).Nils  founded baby international with his wife when his son was born.  When he’s not writing for the magazine Nils is playing with Vincent or cheers for Oranje.