A Little Yule Cheer, Day 5: A Primer for A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

In October of 1843, Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol as a social commentary on the treatment of the poor, especially poor children, in industrialized England. It took him only six weeks to put the story on paper! Because his publishers, Chapman and Hall, were unwilling to risk the investment of publishing another novel after his Martin Chuzzlewit flop, Dickens paid for the production and printing of the novella out of his own pocket. The 6,000 published copies sold out in a week and 15,000 total copies were sold by the end of the year. A Christmas Carol has never been out of print since that time.

I read A Christmas Carol almost every year and always watch at least one movie version as part of my Christmas traditions. For today, I’m sharing some resources and opinions related to this iconic story. If you’re already a fan of this iconic story, I hope this post brings you some joy. If you aren’t very familiar with it, I hope you’ll discover something that makes you curious to dip your toes into one of the greatest Christmas tales of all time (outside of The Christmas Story, which is why we celebrate in the first place).


To set the stage, Clickview offers an informative background video on Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol. It’s brief (about 7 minutes) and adds dimension to the story, whether you are an aficionado or a beginner.

Experiencing the Story

There are many ways to experience A Christmas Carol. As an avid reader, I am always going to recommend reading the book first. It’s a small time investment; most books are under 120 pages. If you aren’t a reader, listening to an audiobook is another possibility. Again, the time investment is small, about 3.5 to 4 hours. Audible has versions narrated by some powerhouse actors including Tim Curry, Hugh Grant, Patrick Stewart, Orson Welles and Lionel Barrymore, and Lawrence Olivier. I also found a Audible Original version with a full cast including Sir Derek Jacobi and Brendan Coyle.

The third, and probably most accessible, way to experience A Christmas Carol is to watch a movie version. At my house, we like the whimsey of A Muppet Christmas Carol and the darkness of A Christmas Carol starring George C. Scott. There are so many versions to choose from. To find your own favorite(s,) check out the lists below:

Going Deeper

If you are already a fan of A Christmas Carol and want to try something new but related, here are a few suggestions:

Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva. This as a fictionalized account of the writing of a Christmas Carol. Very little is tied to historical facts but the story is well told with an atmosphere similar to A Christmas Carol. I enjoyed it.


Jacob T. Marley by R. William Bennett. Jacob Marley is Scrooge’s former business partner and the ghost that warns Scrooge of his likely doom and chance for redemption through the three Christmas spirits. This is his story. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s Goodreads rating is 4.13 stars.


The Man Who Invented Christmas. Obviously, this film focuses on the why and how behind Dickens’ masterpiece. I haven’t seen this movie yet but focuses on a Christmas Carol from a fresh perspective and stars Dan Stevens as Charles Dickens so it can’t be too bad.

A Christmas Carol is a beloved story that’s been told and retold for almost two centuries. Scrooge’s powerful redemption experience juxtaposed against the atmospheric backdrop of a Victorian Christmas setting has impacted generations of people. I wonder what Charles Dickens would say about it’s success?

I hope you discover something new to love about A Christmas Carol and find this quote to be true of yourself as it was of Ebenezer Scrooge:

“And it was 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 Little Yule Cheer: Day 6 (Favorite Christmas Movies)

When Christmas comes around, the need to engage in comforting and celebratory traditions increases exponentially.  My family has a few traditions we hold dear.  Some are very meaningful to our faith and the spiritual experience of the holiday.  Others are strictly for fun and we repeat them because they were an enjoyable experience the first time around and we want to relive the good feelings associated with them again and again.  Watching Christmas movies falls in the that latter category for us; it’s a time to relax and be together during the otherwise nutsy weeks before the Big Day.

The movies we watch every year:


National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo (1989).  It’s the ultimate dysfunctional family gathering that still makes me belly laugh.  The kids didn’t start watching this movie with us until they were teenagers; language and innuendo are definitely not for little ones.  We watched this movie this evening and we’ll be quoting lines from it for weeks.  Check out IMDb for a full review.


White Christmas starring Bing Crosby, starring Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen (1954).   Lots of singing, dancing and fancy costumes with a perfectly sentimental and happy ending.  So much nostalgic fun!  We’ll be watching this one closer to Christmas.  IMDb.


The Muppet Christmas Carol starring Michael Caine and a very large cast of muppets (1992).  A fun and surprisingly moving retelling of the classic Charles Dickens story in a musical format.  The only thing complaint I have is that when the movie was produced in DVD format, one of the songs  was removed (“The Love is Gone”)  Why??  It was a lovely part of the movie and I miss it.  IMDb.


A Christmas Carol starring George C. Scott (1984).  What can I say?  This is our favorite secular Christmas story and, as much as we love the Muppet version, it feels appropriate to watch a realistic interpretation more in line with Dickens’ writing.  Because some scenes can be scary, it’s probably not the best choice for small children or early elementary aged kiddos.  IMDb.

Although we have movies we watch every year,  there are many others we like to watch if we get the chance: Home Alone, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas… The list could go on and on, really.

If you are interested in starting your own Christmas movie traditions or want to know where your favorits fall in the greatest Christmas movies of all time lists, take a look at Fansided, New Media Rockstars,  or Ranker.

What are your favorite Christmas movies?  I’d love to hear about them.