A Christmas Carol

January 02, 2017

Bah, Humbug! We all know the tale, whether the version we know stars Muppets, Mickey Mouse, or an animated, elderly Jim Carrey.

It took me 30 Christmases to finally pick up this gem, and I’m glad I did. Reading it off and on during the weeks leading up to Christmas, helped me get into the Christmas spirit while enduring a brutal Tampa December (grumble, grumble… climate change is real people).

Most of my favorite quotations come from the cold-hearted Scrooge that we meet in the first chapter. The one we reference when accusing or reprimanding someone with a regrettable lack of cheer.

“Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,” returned the gentleman, “a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?” “Nothing!” Scrooge replied. “You wish to be anonymous?” “I wish to be left alone,” said Scrooge.”

Or my favorite, while being visited by the spirit of his dead former business partner, Jacob Marley:

“Why do you doubt your senses?” “Because,” said Scrooge, “a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!”

But Scrooge doesn’t get all of the lines. The narrator has his own share of musings while taking the reader on this journey with Ebenezer:

Mind! I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country’s done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, nor wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn’t know where to have him. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. They often “came down” handsomely, and Scrooge never did.

“More shame for him, Fred!” said Scrooge’s niece indignantly. Bless those women; they never do anything by halves. They are always in earnest.

All in all, it was a lively and spirited read.


Excerpts from: Charles Dickens. “A Christmas Carol.”