Of all of the charming and classic stories you will read or hear during the Christmas season, without a doubt, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is the ultimate example of the Christmas spirit. If you're looking for beautiful nostalgic art to grace your walls this year for Christmas look no further.
There are very few Christmas books as well as Christmas movies that I would consider to be fundamental to the season. But the classic novel A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is timeless. And though it is a Christmas story about the Holiday season the message it tells us is valuable all year long.
As far as Christmas books are concerned, there aren't many to compare. It is full of inspired characters like Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, and the three Christmas spirits. The rich descriptive language throughout the story makes me really feel immersed in the culture of the Victorian era.
An Excellent Theme for a Christmas Party
There is really nothing more fitting than to use this glorious book as a quite glamourous excuse to throw a Christmas party. I'm envisioning a fun event similar to that thrown in the book by Mr. Fezziwig.
There were more dances, and there were forfeits, and more dances, and there was cake, and there was negus, and there was a great piece of Cold Roast, and there was a great piece of Cold Boiled, and there were mince-pies, and plenty of beer. But the great effect of the evening came after the Roast and Boiled, when the fiddler (an artful dog, mind! The sort of man who knew his business better than you or I could have told it him!) struck up "Sir Roger de Coverley." Then old Fezziwig stood out to dance with Mrs. Fezziwig. Top couple, too; with a good stiff piece of work cut out for them; three or four and twenty pair of partners; people who were not to be trifled with; people who would dance, and had no notion of walking.A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Public Domain
It is a dream of mine to throw a party with a cheerful group of people with food, drink, and festive music. Of course, I would have colorful decorations and a rich jewel color scheme.
A Christmas Carol Illustrations by Arthur Rackham - Free Printables
I am very often inspired by the beautifully written words and classic language of old literature. And of course, the Victorian Era is full of examples to graze from. As a part of my A Christmas Carol Christmas Decor theme in my dining room, I decided there really is no better printable art I could choose than that of the illustrations by Arthur Rackham.
And of course, I love to share them with you in a free download. They would also make a really great gift for any literary lovers you know.
These printables are available as a free download in the Wonderland Subscriber Library. By simply entering your email address and following the prompts in the email. If you're already a member sign in here. Please remember these are for personal use only.
Arthur Rackham: Classical Illustrator
Arthur Rackham is one of my favorite classical illustrators. He illustrated several of my favorite pieces of literature in his career like Wind in the Willows and Alice in Wonderland.
His illustrations of Mr. Scrooge and Marley's ghost as well as the towns folk divvying out his possessions after his death are dark, but it wouldn't be a proper Victorian-age tale without moral lessons woven in. The reality is Scrooge would have no one to mourn him.
I'm a huge fan of Arthur Rackham's art in general because it seems as though he didn't seek to make things prettier than they were. In fact, he almost accentuated their awkward lines.
However, the original art by John Leech, (also in the public domain), is quite charming in its own right and style. And it is perhaps a bit more cheerful, colorful, and whimsical.
A Summary of A Christmas Carol
It would be a beautiful Christmas tradition to start and I hope to, read through this book with my family. In fact, it would be a great advent to read a few pages every day leading up to Christmas day.
This short tale takes place on Christmas Eve. Miserly Scrooge is visited by three Christmas spirits, The ghost of Christmas past, the ghost of Christmas Present, and the ghost of Christmas that has yet to be.
The name Scrooge became synonymous with greed and the hatred of Christmas. He was an excellent man of business, but he only cares for money.
Scrooge was alone. Jacob Marley, his business partner, had died years earlier.
Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
His employee Bob Cratchit is truly one of the last good and kind influences left in Scrooge's life. With exception of his loving and patient nephew who invites him to Christmas dinner. However, Scrooge refuses, convinced it's a waste of money.
"What else can I be," returned the uncle, "when I live in such a world of fools as this? Merry Christmas! Out upon merry Christmas! What's Christmas-time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, and not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books, and having every item in 'em through a round dozen of months presented dead against you? If I could work my will," said Scrooge indignantly, "every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!"
Marley's ghost visits Scrooge. Marley warns him that his greed in life became his chains in death. Then tells Scrooge he will be visited by three spirits by the end of the night.
"Are you the Spirit, sir, whose coming was foretold to me?" asked Scrooge.
The voice was soft and gentle. Singularly low, as if, instead of being so close beside him, it were at a distance.
"Who and what are you?" Scrooge demanded.
"I am the Ghost of Christmas Past."
"Long Past?" inquired Scrooge; observant of its dwarfish stature.
"No. Your past."
Scrooge is taken to visit his past childhood and then adulthood where he first worked with Mr. Fezziwig. His first love and the eventual downfall of his obsession with gaining wealth. Ultimately the woman he loved wed another. He is shown the family he might have had and mourns the loss of it.
And now Scrooge looked on more attentively than ever, when the master of the house, having his daughter leaning fondly on him, sat down with her and her mother at his own fireside; and when he thought that such another creature, quite as graceful and as full of promise, might have called him father, and been a spring-time in the haggard winter of his life, his sight grew very dim indeed.
"Come in!" exclaimed the Ghost. "Come in! and know me better, man!"
Scrooge entered timidly, and hung his head before this Spirit. He was not the dogged Scrooge he had been; and, though the Spirit's eyes were clear and kind, he did not like to meet them.
"I am the Ghost of Christmas Present," said the Spirit. "Look upon me!"
Bob Cratchit has a sickly son named Tiny Tim. Unfortunately, his pay is so little the Cratchit family lives in near poverty. Though the family has many reasons to be unhappy, Scrooge sees their love and kindness even through their trials. He grows to care for Tiny Tim but realizes that the little boy is gravely ill.
He sat very close to his father's side, upon his little stool. Bob held his withered little hand in his, as if he loved the child, and wished to keep him by his side, and dreaded that he might be taken from him.
"Spirit," said Scrooge with an interest he had never felt before, "tell me if Tiny Tim will live."
"I see a vacant seat," replied the Ghost, "in the poor chimney-corner, and a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved. If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, the child will die."
"No, no," said Scrooge. "Oh, no, kind Spirit! say he will be spared."
When the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come arrives things take a bleak turn. Scrooge sees the world after his death. No one mourns his loss and is faced with his own mortality.
Scrooge crept towards it, trembling as he went; and, following the finger, read upon the stone of the neglected grave his own name, Ebenezer Scrooge.
"Am I that man who lay upon the bed?" he cried upon his knees.
The finger pointed from the grave to him, and back again.
"No, Spirit! Oh no, no!"
The finger still was there.
"Spirit!" he cried, tight clutching at its robe, "hear me! I am not the man I was. I will not be the man I must have been but for this intercourse. Why show me this, if I am past all hope?"
Seeing the errors of his ways Scrooge begs for the chance to set things right. When he awakes on Christmas morning he finds that only one night has passed. Full of renewed hope and Christmas cheer he buys Bob Cratchit the largest Christmas goose. He vows to keep the spirit of Christmas in his heart for the rest of his life. And Tiny Tim is able to make a full recovery.
A Short Bio of Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was born on February 7th, 1812, and died on June 9th, 1870. He is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. The fictional characters He created are some of the world's most renowned. Two of the best-known characters such as Mr. Scrooge and Dave Copperfield.
His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime and, by the 20th century, critics and scholars had recognized him as a literary genius. His works are still popular and widely read even today.
At the age of 12, Dickens was forced to leave school to work in a boot-blacking factory when his father was incarcerated in a debtors' prison. After three years he returned to school before he began his literary career as a journalist.
Dickens's literary success began with the 1836 serial publication of The Pickwick Papers.
Charles Dickens's Most Well-Known Works
In all Dickens wrote 15 novels, hundreds of short stories, and non-fiction articles, lectured and performed readings, was a relentless letter writer, and campaigned tirelessly for children's rights to education, and of course other social reforms as well.
A few of his literary works include:
- A Christmas Carol
- Oliver Twist
- Great Expectations
- A Tale of Two Cities
- The Cricket on the Hearth
- David Copperfield
- Bleak House
- Nicholas Nickleby
Fun Christmas Activities for Different Ages
An easy way to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in your family is to create fun traditions and play together. Taking into consideration the wisdom of our ancestors, I would say the one thing of true value in this life is time spent with those we love.
- An easy way to have fun is to ask the question "How Many Words Can You Make with Merry Christmas?"
- The countdown to Christmas is a sacred counting right of all children everywhere. I designed a fun bunch of Christmas Countdown Calendars as free printables.
- Another classic turned fun Christmas activity is to gather friends and family for a fun White Elephant gift exchange. This twist on the classic combines another epic piece of Christmas literature Twas the Night Before Christmas.
- If you love to ooh and ahh over the sparkling Christmas Light displays this will only add to the entire experience. You can turn the entire experience into a fun scavenger hunt for the whole family!
- Possibly the most fun and challenging game of the season is a good game of Christmas Trivia. Personally, I like to try to stump my family by asking little-known facts about fun Christmas Carols, Christmas songs, or Christmas movies.
The original illustrator for the Charles Dickens book A Christmas Carol was an artist named John Leech. However, several other famous illustrators have done versions as well including the famous illustrator Arthur Rackham.
John Leech did a total of 8 illustrations for the original printing of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. However, Arthur Rackham's 1915 version of the book included 12 color illustrations and several other black-and-white illustrations.
The original illustrator hired by Charles Dickens for his book A Christmas Carol was John Leech. He was a well-known caricaturist and illustrator. He was best known for his work for Punch, a magazine that combined verbal and graphic political satire with light social comedy.
Ebenezer Scrooge was the most well-known of Charles Dickens's characters from the well-loved timeless classic A Christmas Carol.
...and it was always said of him that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Public Domain
God bless us, every one.
Hi, I'm Julie! Mother to five beautiful kids, Homeschool Educator, Writer, Handicraft & DIY Enthusiast, Photographer, Thrifter, and Furniture Restorer. Follow along for fun DIY projects creating a handmade home on a budget! Read more about me here→