Tag: christmas

"A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens"

A Christmas Carol Turns 175 Years Old



On December 19th, 1843, a Novella, A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas or more commonly known as A Christmas Carol was published. Written by Charles Dickens and illustrated by John Leech, the famous yuletide tale this year marks its 175th anniversary.


This classic Christmas tale recounts the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a rich and successful but miserly old man. On the Christmas Eve, his clerk, Bob Cratchit, shivers because Scrooge refuses to spend money on coals for a fire. Scrooge’s nephew pays him a visit and invites him to an annual Christmas party he and his family are hosting, and Scrooge bitterly declines. Two gentleman drop in later that day to ask Scrooge for a contribution to their charity. Scrooge angrily refuses their request and denounces any and all Christmas cheer. Later that night as he is sitting by a warm and cozy fire in his house, he is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and three other spirits: The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. All through the night, these spirits haunt Ebenezer Scrooge, and show him the error of his ways. After that night, Scooge is transformed into a kinder, gentler man.


ghost of Christmas past

Image via Independent.uk.co 


In the middle of the 19th century, Dickens was witnessed the abject poverty of working class children in England, and was  outraged by the amount of children working in appalling conditions in factories, workhouses and as chimney sweeps. The suffering he witnessed was then reinforced when he visited the Field Lane Ragged School, one of several of London’s industrial schools/orphanages where the children were half-starved and uneducated.


In a fundraising speech on October 5th, 1843, Dickens urged workers and employers to join him in fighting against the child labor. He then realized in the days after that an effective way to reach a wide audience and spread his message about poverty and injustice was to write a deep and meaningful Christmas narrative rather than writing pamphlets and essays.


The Novel was a best-seller in both England and the United States, but because there were no international copyright laws in those times yet, Dickens didn’t make any money when he sold the American editions. In 1867, Dickens arrived at New York and on December 9, 1867 he was able to read A Christmas Carol at a public reading – which in fact was sold out.


jim carrey

Image via movieposters2.com


Ever since, this classic Christmas tale has been adapted into different versions of entertainment from films to plays to a children’s movie. The first film adaptation was in 1901. Jim Carey voiced the scrooge in the 2009 animated version of A Christmas Carol and is played on kids channels every year around Christmas time. There were rumors that parents used the ghosts of Christmas past as a way to scare their kids into behaving all year.



a christmas carol play

Image via whitelight.ltd.uk


The novella was adapted to the stage almost immediately after publication and had been adapted to other forms of media, including opera, ballet, a Broadway musical, and a BBC mime production. Almost every year, Broadway casts the play in December and it usually sells out pretty quickly along with the Trans Siberian Orchestra.


Featured Image Via Pulsd

Santa Tolkien

J. R. R. Tolkien’s Christmas Letters to His Kids Are Exactly What You Need Today

Between 1920 and 1943, J. R. R. Tolkien wrote and illustrated letters in the voice of Father Christmas to be delivered to his children every Christmas Eve. The amount of sheer joy, magic, and warmth this brings to my cold, warped heart is voluminous. As far as loving gestures go, this one’s epic in scale. Now fans can see these letters firsthand at Oxford’s Bodleian library between June 1 and October 28, 2018.


Tolkien letter

Image Via The Guardian


After his three-year-old son John asked Tolkien where Father Christmas lived, Tolkien embarked on the twenty-three year tradition of writing letters in Daddy Xmas’ voice. The letters tell stories of life in the North Pole, and sagas involving Santa’s sidekick: Polar Bear. That’s the sidekick’s full name: Polar Bear. Allegedly, according to Father Christmas, Polar Bear accidentally flipped on the Northern Lights in 1926. Oopsie!


As the kids grew older, Tolkien’s Christmas tales became more adult too. In 1932, for example, Father Christmas told the Tolkien children about thieving goblins who attempted to steal all of the presents. It’s not the only time Tolkien wrote about conniving goblins.


Tolkien letter

Image Via The Guardian


The letters are very interesting to Tolkien fans because the later ones were written while he was working on The Hobbit and the early Lord of the Rings books. The letters not only give fans a glimpse into how Tolkien’s mind worked, but also the warm family dynamic he maintained with his children.


The curator of the upcoming exhibit, and Bodleian Tolkien archivist, Catherine McIlwaine, said of the letters:


The other reason I find the letters so touching is there couldn’t be a clearer demonstration of how important his family was to him. He was orphaned from the age of 12, when his mother died, and then he spent years boarded out in lodging houses in Birmingham. He actually met his wife, Edith, as a fellow boarder: the family home they made together, and their children, meant everything.


For fans of Tolkien and the holiday spirit, a 2018 trip to Oxford is in order. Oh, and if you can’t make it to Oxford, you can check out the letters in Letters From Father Christmas…it just won’t be the same.


Feature Image Via The Guardian

Moby Dick

10 Literary Christmas Trees That Will Spark Your Holiday Spirit

The holidays are finally upon us which means last minute holiday shopping, trying desperately to figure out what so-and-so wants (you ask them just to be met with “it doesn’t matter” even though you both know that’s not true), family reunions (let’s be honest, half of the time they end in tears and I don’t mean the happy ones), and the need to decorate your house in a way which both pleases you and impresses your family and friends. 


On a lighter note, the holidays mean the perfect time to dust off your glue gun, try to find those tiny scissors that somehow keep disappearing, and get ready for some arts and crafts. If you’re naturally a creative and crafty person, then this is pretty much the best time of the year. If you’re not a natural artist, you may just find yourself dabbling in the arts after you hear Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” the third time on your way to work. 


If you’re searching for a new crafty project, then look no further. Here are ten literary christmas trees that you can emulate in your home! 




Image Via The Hallmark Channel


Check out this easy DIY here.




Image Via Interiorish/Pinterest




Image Via ThoughtsfromAlice/Pinterest




Image Via BookBub/Pinterest



book tree

Image Via BookBub/Pinterest




Image Via Royal Roaster/Tumblr




Image Via Autumn Leaves/Tumblr





Image Via Karen Krut/Tumblr




Image Via King Collector/Tumblr





Image Via Cuatroveintiuno/Tumblr


Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments! 




Featured image courtesy of ‘The Hallmark Channel’

Zooey reading

Find out Your Favorite Celebrities’ Favorite Books

Overwhelmed by choice and unable to decide what books to ask Santa for this year? Let this strange assortment of famous people influence your decision. Derived from lists assembled by the likes of Ranker and Glamour, this ultimate celebrity book recommendation list is all you need this holiday season. Note, as I have, the amusing differences between the gushing comments of the likes of J. K. Rowling, and the concise statements of those like Kit Harington. 


Daniel Radcliffe:The Master and Margarita is now my favorite novel—it’s just the greatest explosion of imagination, craziness, satire, humor, and heart.” That sounds genuinely great. I hear it also features an excellent personified cat character. Definitely on my TBR pile.


Via Giphy

Via Giphy


Anna Kendrick:All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque; Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut; and The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien. They’re classics because they’re fucking great.” You tell ’em, Anna.


Via Giphy

Via Giphy


Zooey Deschanel:A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments, a book of essays by David Foster Wallace. One is about a cruise that turns out to be terrible. It’s delightfully astute.” Oh God, not a terrible cruise. SAY IT AIN’T SO, ZOOEY.


Via Giphy

Via Giphy


Bill Murray: “Well, my favorite author is Mark Twain. He’s smart, and funny. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, especially the chapter all the purists hate, in which Tom Sawyer stages an elaborate rescue of Jim, is a writer having as much fun as possible. But my favorite book is a two-parter by Laurens Van Der Post, A Story Like the Wind and A Far-Off Place. My favorite book used to be The Plague by Albert Camus.” A characteristically left-of-center list from Bill.


Via Giphy

Via Giphy


Rachel McAdams: “It’s not often that a writer makes me laugh out loud, but [David] Sedaris does. He brings me to tears. It’s to the point where I can’t read his writing in public because people think I’m having some kind of meltdown. In this collection of essays, When You Are Engulfed in Flames he has a way of finding humour in the strangest and most painful moments, like a week with a creepy baby-sitter, or the death of his mother.” This sounds great, I hear good things about David though I’ve never read him. Also a fan of his sister Amy. A good family, it seems. 


Via Giphy

Via Giphy

Kerry Washington: “Shonda [Rhimes] is a rock star and a superhero, and if you have not read her book, it should be your New Year’s resolution. You should read Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person. It is one of my most favorite books I have ever read—and I like books. It’s so good.” You heard her, folks. She likes books, and I like the title of this one as well. 


Via Giphy

Via Giphy


Keira Knightley: “I’ve pretty much read every one of Somerset Maugham’s books. And I love everything by Jeanette Winterson—The Passion is my favorite.” Jeanette Winterson is great in fairness. 


Via Giphy

Via Giphy

Lady Gaga: “I read Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet every day.” Nice.


Via Tenor

Via Tenor

J.K. Rowling: “The Woman Who Walked into Doors is the most remarkable book. Roddy Doyle gets inside the head of his character so utterly, so completely. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered such a believable, fully rounded female character from any other heterosexual male writer in any age. I should emphasize that I would feel the same way about the book if it had been written by a woman; I would still think it was the most remarkable achievement. But when I sit back and think, ‘A man wrote this?’—phenomenal. He has created a woman who, you imagine, will go to the bathroom and defecate. He also leaves her with her dignity, even though what she’s going through is a horrific thing. And he does it all in such a subtle way. I do think he’s a genius. His dialogue is irreproachable. And your heart…you’re totally drawn into his books. I’m very passionate about Roddy Doyle, and I’ve never met him, which is a frustration to me.” High praise indeed!


Via Tenor

Via Tenor


Kit Harington: “My favorite book is 1984 by George Orwell.” Cool! 


Jon snow


Featured Image Via Gossip Bucket

'The Nutcracker'

This Author’s New Spin on ‘The Nutcracker’ Is Sure to Crack Some Nuts!

Just like the ruby red leaves of poinsettias, evergreens dripping in gold ornaments, and a sense of excitement everywhere you go, this time of year has certain attributes that you can always count on. One such example are Christmas tales such as the classic The Nutcracker


Gregory Maguire

Image Via Amazon


People fall in love with the story year after year. Marie (or Clara, as in the ballet) has her epic battle against the evil Mouse King with her Nutcracker toy that has magically come to life. Soon she is taken away to a fairytale land of beautiful dolls. The ballet is quite lovely from what I’ve heard! However, Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West as well as several other adult and children tales, has decided to retell his own version of The Nutcracker. Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker has a twist that might be too dark for youngsters.


In his recent interview with NPR Books, Maguire explains his disconnect from the way the notable ballet portrayed it:


Act I is the traditional tale, that you might find in Grimm, with the small powerless Clara fighting the great King of the Mice, and that makes sense and is dramatically strong… Then, Act II comes… It has nothing to do with the great drama of Act I; it’s all squandered. And I wanted to know what I could do with this story to make the two parts speak to each other.


Maguire’s main goal? To focus on the toymaker and Marie’s godfather, Drosselmeier, and his backstory. The character was said to be a poor young boy living in the deep woods of Europe. Maguire wants to spend time really connecting him to the tales of German romanticism while sprinkling in real-life struggles. It gives Drosselmeier the chance to be a hero.


'The Nutcracker'

Image Via Amazon


He really is doing something great here to let us remember the magic it took to have a child-like outlook on the world. Now it takes even more to not let that magic harden and fade into darkness. “If we remember the magic of our childhoods, we might be able to find in that the strength to carry on in our own hard and difficult adult lives.” 


I understand the classic tale will always be, well, classic. Yet I do believe that Maguire is onto something very real and very magical. 


Feature Image Via LIB Magazine