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Two hundred years ago, in the early 19th Century, as astonishing as it may seem, Christmas in Great Britain had become almost extinct. The Times newspaper did not mention Christmas once between 1790 and 1835. Not once! However, Charles Dickens was instrumental in reviving Christmas during the Victorian era. He wrote his book ‘A Christmas Carol’ in 1843 for several reasons. Unemployment and famine was widespread. About 1 in 10 people were as poor as you can possibly imagine, or worse than we can probably imagine. Dickens wanted to challenge the Government and the wealthy to act with generosity and with compassion and so his character Ebenezer Scrooge brings that challenge into focus. Nowadays, not many people want to be like Scrooge at the start of the book. I guess we all hope we can become more like the joyful, genial, generous Scrooge from the last scenes of the book or film. Dickens’ book helped to revive Christmas traditions of generosity within our country.


(With my thanks to Rev J. John for some of these facts)

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