|Cloth cover of very first edition!|
Out of all the tales told at this time, one of the best known is the story of a miserable old man who finally remembers what the holiday season and life itself is all about. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens was first published in 1843. It has often been adapted, homaged, and outright parodied over the decades since, but its story is as timeless as it is timely.
Ebenezer Scrooge is a well known but miserly business man in Victorian London. Upon the seventh anniversary of his death, which just also happens to be Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of former business partner Jacob Marley. The ghost brings dire warning for Scrooge to change his ways while he still can or wind up with a worse fate than what Marley suffers when Scrooge passes away.
Over the course of the next three chapters (called Staves, in keeping with the title theme) Scrooge is visited by three additional spirits. The Ghost of Christmas Past, who shows Ebenezer how his life was and could have been if he had listened to people back then. The Ghost of Christmas Present, who shows Scrooge how others celebrate the holiday despite their wealth or lack thereof; with the worst of all being the Ghost of Christmas Future, who shows Scrooge what awaits him if he doesn’t heed the warnings.
Those who have either already read the book or seen any of the adaptations know the outcome in the final Stave, but Dickens prose still holds up to this day and is well worth rereading again.