At the beginning of December I went with my mother and my step-dad to watch Simon Callow in Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. It is a one-man production that I saw last year with my friend Beth, and consequently decided to make it a festive tradition. I was lucky enough to meet Simon Callow afterwards when I was enjoying a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine in the theatre’s bar and speaking to the man in possession of perhaps the most marvelous voice in the country was certainly one of the highlights of my year.
And as a token Christmas present, my mother bought me a beautiful hard-back edition of A Christmas Carol to remind me of our trip to the theatre. Most people will know the story well, it having been propelled into mainstream culture by the Muppet’s Christmas Carol, and despite having struggled with much of Dickens’ other work, A Christmas Carol is a truly beautiful story.
First published on 19th December 1843, A Christmas Carol tells the story of Ebeneezer Scrooge, a miserly and miserable old man about to spend another Christmas alone. Intolerant of compassion, charity or kindness Scrooge dismisses the offer of his nephew Fred’s dinner invitation and refuses to contribute to a collection for the poor. Indeed, his only Christmas gift is allowing his overworked employee Bob Cratchit Christmas day off, though this is only on the condition that he returns to work first thing on Boxing Day.
On the night of Christmas Eve, however, Scrooge is paid a visit by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley, seven years after his death. Marley warns Scrooge to change his ways before three further spirits descend on the night. The Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge to scenes of his childhood, causing him to reminisce a time of boyish innocence while the Ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge a joyous picture of people celebrating Christmas this year. Finally, the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come takes Scrooge to a time in the future where he sees what both life and death will be like if he continues to live as he does.
A timeless, cautionary tale just as relevant in the 21st century as it was in the 19th, A Christmas Carol is a heart-warming story perfect for this time of year.
And here’s hoping that everyone has a very merry Christmas, wherever you may be!