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The Christmas Revival Continues

A Christmas Carol 
by Charles Dickens

I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book,
to raise the Ghost of an Idea,
which shall not put my readers out of humour
with themselves, with each other,
with the season, or with me.
May it haunt their houses pleasantly,
and no one wish to lay it. 

Their faithful Friend and Servant, C. D. 
December, 1843.

Charles_Dickens.JPG (94617 bytes)It appeared on the stands just six days before Christmas, 1843. The first edition of 6,000 copies sold out the first day and letters of praise began to pour in from all parts of England. By February 1844, more than 15,000 copies had been sold.

At that time, England was in the midst of an economic upheaval. The tragedy of poverty cut deeply into his social consciousness. In 1853 when he gave his first public reading of "A Christmas Carol," he demanded that seats be set aside for working men and their families at prices they could pay.

In his public readings, Dickens captivated his audiences. He made them laugh and cry and held them suspended in animation. Like a magician, he used his voice, his expression, the movements of his hands and his own distinguished appearance to hold his listeners in the palm of his hand. Dickens became a professional entertainer as he literally breathed for his characters, and the heartbeat of Tiny Tim could be heard in the audience.

For additional information about Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol, see: Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol, a site that features information and activities relating to A Christmas Carol. Visitors can learn about the story, send holiday cards, play games and even ask Scrooge a yes or no question.

At the same time as Nast began his career during the 1860s, the English custom of a visit from Father Christmas was revived and established as the character visiting on Christmas Eve and leaving gifts for children in their stockings. Images, dolls and artwork from Germany helped to strengthen this custom. Sensing a business opportunity, the Germans began exporting illustrations and cards depicting Santa Claus to Britain. Father Christmas was usually represented as a tall, almost aesthetic character, saintly and stern rather than the 'Jolly Elf'’ character being portrayed by the Americans.

The Germanic images showed him as a saint in bishops robes, as a winter man in furs, as a saintly old man, often seen in the company of the Holy Child, and as a gift bringer in robes of every color from brown, white, green blue to golds, pinks and red. Even in this latter guise, his countenance was serious more often than jolly, though laughing Santas did appear. These were usually those that were influenced by the American imagery, and intended for export to the USA.

In the late 1800s of New York, the celebration of Christmas and the cult of Santa Claus continued to grow. Jones reported at pages 328-9 that the Saint Nicholas Society (co-founded by Washington Irving in 1835) in 1885 took over the weathercock from the Saint Nicholas Hotel, which it had helped to found; it has been said with a smile that only those whose name begin with Van can be elected to its Board of Stewards. The Saint Nicholas Club (founded 1875), with colonial descent a requirement of membership, is more definitely social. The Saint Nicholas Society of Nassau (Long Island) in 1915 had about two hundred members who customarily banqueted on St. Nicholas’ Day (December 6th). The New-York Historical Society meets on St. Nicholas’ Day, and the Holland, the Long Island Historical, and the Knickerbocker societies show their devotion to St. Nicholas in their several ways.

Saint Nicholas Avenue was laid out about 1869.


 

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Collections of Christmas Carols & Poetry
Compiled and Edited by
Douglas D. Anderson

Victorian Visions
A Christmas Poetry Collection

Divinely Inspired
A Christmas Poetry Collection

The Bridegroom Cometh
Poetry For The Advent

Other books by Doug Anderson

Once A Lovely Shining Star

A Christmas Poetry Collection

So Gracious Is The Time

A Christmas Poetry Collection

How Still The Night

The Christmas Poems of Father Andrew, S.D.C.

 Father and Daughter

Christmas Poems by Frances and William Havergal

Now, Now The Mirth Comes

Christmas Poetry by Robert Herrick

What Sudden Blaze Of Song

The Christmas Poems of Rev. John Keble

 A Holy Heavenly Chime

The Christmastide Poems of Christina Georgina Rossetti

All My Heart This Night Rejoices

The Christmas Poems of Catherine Winkworth

A Victorian Carol Book

Favorites from the 19th Century —
Still favorites today!

Other Books by Doug Anderson

A Psalter – A Book of the Psalms Arranged by Luther's Categories

Betbüchlein: A Personal Prayer Book, a recreation of Luther's 1529 prayer book

Daily Prayer

Luther's Passional

Luther's Writings on Prayer: A Selection

Devotions for the Advent – 2009

The Lenten Sermons of Martin Luther, Second Edition

Descriptions of all these volumes can be seen at
Books by Doug Anderson


The Hymns and Carols of Christmas
Douglas D. Anderson

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