A Christmas Carol – a ghost story of Christmas

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“I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.”

And so Charles Dickens modestly introduces us to his enduring ghost story of Christmas, ‘A Christmas Carol’.  His ambiguous hope that neither the book, nor its haunting presence, would be easily laid down, or exorcised, has been realised more than he can possibly have imagined.  Apart from the Nativity, it’s hard to think of a more seasonal yarn.

Christmas Carol, Charles DickensA Christmas Carol is short, a novella, which apparently only took about six weeks to write.  The idea behind it was partly to generate much-needed cash, because Dickens’ book sales were not going well at the time.  Despite that, he insisted on an expensive binding with illustrations by John Leech, several in colour, and apparently paid for a good part of the publication himself.  This was because his publishers, Chapman and Hall, were not enthusiastic about what they viewed as a slightly risky, novel, project for its time – a Christmas story. Published on 19 December 1843, the first edition of 6,000 sold out by Christmas Eve and, as far as I can make out, ‘A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story For Christmas’ hasn’t been out of print since. It is a much a part of our Christmas as turkey and stuffing, has been translated into most languages and adapted for I don’t know how many film, theatre and TV productions.  The book gives so much more than any audio-visual production can ever do.  That said, it is hard to beat the 1951 film starring Alastair Sim.  The trailer for the 2019 BBC TV adaptation suggested something fashionably, but gratuitously, gritty – utilising all the special effects the budget would run to and promising, in a slow and husky faux American whisper, “Tonight you will not sleep.” Episode 1 was dreadful.

So what’s the real story of A Christmas Carol?  We know it is a warming parable of the redemption of Ebenezer Scrooge, the “squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner” of Dickens’ wondrous pen.  But it is rather more than that.  Firstly, the title and structure are clever. Traditionally, a ‘carol’ is a joyous song, not necessarily religious, or a round dance with singing.  Anyway, it is something uplifting that brings people together.  Dickens could have called his little book, ‘A Christmas Tale’, or similar; but that would not have had quite the same meaning.  He doesn’t give us chapters, either; ‘A Christmas Carol’ is broken up into five staves.  The word ‘stave’ has many meanings.  In this context, it refers to the musical stave, the five lines which the notes are written on in music, each line and space between representing a different musical pitch. In A Christmas Carol, the staves each tell their own discrete story, or phase; but when the five are combined, a unified, harmonious, work emerges.

Christmas Carol, Marley's GhostStave One introduces us to Ebenezer Scrooge and reveals his miserly, cruel, and, frankly, nasty character.  It is a foggy Christmas Eve.  We see Scrooge, a misanthropic money-lender, in his chilly counting-house, famously dismissing the seasonal greetings of his nephew with, “Bah! Humbug!” and rejecting an invitation to Christmas dinner; telling gentlemen collecting for the poor and needy that those who can’t go to prison or the workhouse had better die “and decrease the surplus population” and deriding his underpaid clerk, Bob Cratchit for celebrating Christmas.  Dickens makes it clear from the outset that Scrooge’s equally usurious partner, Jacob Marley, was dead.  Dead as a door-nail (or, if you prefer, a coffin-nail).  We learn that Marley died seven years ago this very night.  And Marley’s ghost, condemned to walk the earth for eternity because his spirit did not go forth in life, as every person’s should, visits Scrooge to offer his old collaborator a chance and hope of avoiding Marley’s fate.  Scrooge will be haunted by Three Spirits.  Like wishes, spirits come in threes.

Christmas Carol, FezziwigStave Two describes the visit from the first of the three spirits, the androgynous shape-shifting Ghost of Christmas Past.  The spirit shows Scrooge his school, reminding the old skinflint of his lonely childhood away from home and how he lost himself in tales like Ali Baba; his love of his young sister, Fan; his joy at a simple Christmas party put on by his first employer, Fezziwig.  The spirit also reminds Scrooge that Fan died and had a child, the nephew that Scrooge had rejected earlier.  Finally, he shows the old miser his former sweetheart, Belle, who has married and has a daughter as beautiful as her mother, forcing the by now distraught Scrooge to face up to what he has lost.

Christmas Carol, Ghost of Christmas PresentStave Three sees the second spirit, the larger-than-life Ghost of Christmas Present, unreliably joyful, and like some great pagan Green Man, take Scrooge on a journey.  They see the dirty snow-clad streets of London at Christmas, full of vibrant cheerfulness, shop windows brimming over with exotic goods and innumerable people taking their dinners to bakers’ shops to be cooked (because only the very rich had ovens). All the while, the spirit sprinkles good humour from the torch he carries.  They visit Bob Cratchit’s house and watch while the clerk’s family enjoy their simple feast.  Scrooge is much taken by the Cratchits’ lame son, Tiny Tim, and asks whether the little boy 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.”

Scrooge is whisked through the night to witness countless Christmases, countless people coming together in good spirit to mark the time of year.  They visit the homes of miners, who labour in the bowels of the earth; they witness two lighthouse keepers, miles off-shore high above wave-lashed rocks, toast each other with their grog; and then they’re suddenly at Scrooge’s nephew’s house.  Here, the old man becomes animated watching folk enjoy themselves and begins to realise what he’s missing.  They go on to visit many homes, hospitals, jails, almshouses; Scrooge’s perceptions widen.  At the end, the Spirit dramatically reveals a boy and a girl from beneath its robes “Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish.” Dickens’ description of these two children is powerfully shocking.

“This boy,” explains the Spirit, “Is Ignorance.  This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy…”

Christmas Carol, WANT and IGNORANCEStave Four, of course, is devoted to the lessons offered by the last of the spirits, the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come.  If Scrooge was already having a bad night, this visitation would round it off a treat. Though evidently powerful, and certainly disturbing, neither of the first two spirits initially appears to be particularly terrifying; but the third one certainly is. Dickens describes it as tall and stately, shrouded (appropriate choice of verb) in a deep black garment from head to foot, save for one outstretched hand.  It never speaks, but first directs Scrooge to eavesdrop on a conversation between men that Scrooge recognises regarding an unnamed man who has died.  The men are callously indifferent to the death.  Next, Scrooge and his spirit guide arrive at the foul den of a rag and bone man, old Joe, a dealer in almost anything, rags and refuse of all kinds. Arriving there is a trio of undertaker, charwoman and laundress, each of whom submits a collection of personal items plundered from a recently departed man for old Joe to purchase. No respect is shown for the deceased.  The items include the dead man’s blankets, taken from under the body, and best shirt – apparently removed from the corpse.  The Phantom takes Scrooge to a room in which the unknown dead man lies, but Scrooge cannot bring himself to look at the face.  He beseeches the Spirit to show him someone who feels any emotion from the man’s death, and is taken to a couple whose reluctant reaction is gladness, because they will now have longer to repay the money they had borrowed.  Next, Scrooge is conducted to the Cratchits’ house, where Tiny Tim has died.  Finally, Scrooge is taken to a churchyard where he discovers what the reader already knows; the identity of the dead man is revealed on a neglected grave – EBENEZER SCROOGE.

Christmas Carol, Scrooge faces his graveStave Five is the Happy Ending, where a reclaimed Scrooge finds confirmation that the events depicted by the Ghost of Christmas Future have not happened.  He discovers that it is Christmas Day (“The Spirits have done it all in one night.”).  He buys a huge turkey for the Cratchits, spends Christmas with his nephew, gives Bob a pay rise, became a second father to Tiny Tim (who did not die) and turned into “as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world.”

So, there you go. A Christmas Carol is a good old story of redemption.  Scrooge was not fundamentally bad, he just went badly awry and needed to be shown the light.  Or be frightened into it.  He was a product of his past and circumstances, as all of us are.  Dickens is telling us to take a look at ourselves.  But he was of course also offering us a pithy social commentary.  The squalor of urban poverty in 19th century Britain is hard for most of us in the 21st century west to comprehend.  Dickens was appalled by poverty and injustice, particularly when it came to children.  It is a recurring theme in his writing.  A Parliamentary report on child labour in 1843 (quite rightly) shocked him – as did the conditions in Manchester when he travelled there in October that year to support an educational charity.  It is said these events particularly inspired A Christmas Carol.  Incidentally, Friedrich Engels was in Manchester at the same time, but his ‘Condition of the Working Class in England’ was not published until 1845.  Dickens does not offer any solution beyond treating fellow human-beings decently, but he did draw on personal knowledge.  When he was 12, his father was imprisoned in Marshalsea debtors prison in Southwark and the young Dickens was forced to work in a shoe blacking factory.  The experience chronically scarred him.

The nature of Scrooge is interesting.  He and his kind are products of barely regulated market forces, coupled with a psychopathic disregard and empathy for others.  However, you must admit that pre-reformation Scrooge was no hypocrite and lacked the deceptive urbane sophistication of many of today’s unscrupulous profit-mongers.  He paid his taxes, but did not pay lip-service to insincere customer care or social policies.  You might even argue that Scrooge didn’t know any better; and, anyway, he reformed didn’t he?!  His soul was not corrupt; Scrooge had felt love and compassion and just needed to be reminded of it – albeit the reminder was a rather hefty nudge.  Actually, notwithstanding Scrooge’s undeniable unpleasantness, there is simultaneously something faintly comical about him.

You could argue that this is because Scrooge has become a caricature, but I see it as a feature of Charles Dickens’ superb writing.  His lightness of touch and humour, despite the subject matter, is endearing.  When Scrooge is confronted with the ostensibly terrifying vision of his dead partner, who offers him a chance and hope of salvation through being visited by three spirits, Dickens has his character say, “I – I think I’d rather not.”  It is hard to read through A Christmas Carol without a smile putting in the occasional appearance.  It is a book that any of us would have loved to have written.  Thackeray opined that, “It seems to me a national benefit, and to every man or woman who reads it a personal kindness.”

So it’s both a redemption story and social comment.  But it is also a ghost story.  Ghost stories, especially Christmas ghost stories, were popular in Victorian Britain.  And Dickens loved them.  In fact, he wrote rather a lot of them, including ‘The Story of the Goblins who stole a Sexton’, which features a kind of prototype Scrooge.  Allegedly, the tradition of Christmas ghost stories is far older than Dickens.  Moreover, the veil between this world and the next is thin on Christmas Eve. (Where’s  the husky mid-Western whisper voice-over when you need it?)  The fact is that A Christmas Carol is a ghost story and Marley & Co should be terrifying.  But, somehow, they aren’t.  Oh, I accept that they could be – especially with a generous FX budget and make-up to rival the worst imaginable zombie movie. Indeed, I remember a TV production of it when I was a child that stimulated a nightmare vision of a man with a wig and a blue frock-coat appearing at the foot of my bed.  But, really, the story is more of a fairy-tale, where the underlying unpleasantness is camouflaged so that it doesn’t dominate.

Having established that A Christmas Carol is a redemption story, a ghost story AND one that offers social comment, perhaps we should remind ourselves that it is also very much a Christmas story too!  Dickens has been accused of being the man that invented Christmas, and there’s considerable truth in that.  He adored Christmas – his daughter, Mamie, wrote that “it was a time dearer than any other part of the year, I think.  He loved Christmas for its deep significance as well as for its joy.”  In A Christmas Carol, the author uses the time of year to emphasise all of the novel’s themes.  The Victorian Christmas brand we recognise today was in the process of being launched in the 1840s.  1843 was also the year of the first Christmas card.

It should be clear by now that A Christmas Carol is one of my all-time favourite reads.  It is a beautifully crafted piece – and is particularly good when read out loud.  It also, appropriately, reminds me of my own Christmas past, before I became the lovable, irascible, curmudgeon I am today.  Long ago, when a callow youth, an inspiring English teacher put on a production of A Christmas Carol and, clearly desperate, cast me as both Bob Cratchit AND Marley’s Ghost.  I was awful, but still have happy memories of coming off stage as Bob and changing costume while someone painted my face white and several others attached chains round my shoulders covered in sheets to dampen the noise.  If this makes no sense to you, then for heaven’s sake, read the story.  Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be, of course, as Scrooge might have told you before he got scared witless by three visiting spirits.

Almost finally, fans of A Christmas Carol may need to accept that they are admirers of the unashamedly cheesy and uplifting Christmas movie genre.  The message of hope, redemption and goodwill to all that Dickens popularised in A Christmas Carol recurs in other seasonal favourites, along with anything that evokes childhood or a sense of looking back and forward – “at this time of the rolling year,” as Marley’s ghost neatly put it.  Think of much-loved Christmas movies such as ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, ‘Miracle on 34th Street’, ‘The Grinch’ and ‘The Bishop’s Wife’.  Any other ideas?

In any event, just remember – it’s not too late for you to repent and become a better person. I’m certainly giving it some thought.

Merry Christmas, Britain

 

74 thoughts on “A Christmas Carol – a ghost story of Christmas

  1. cat9984

    I used to watch the Alastair Sims version of A Christmas Carol with my father, and I still love it. However, there was an earlier British version (1930s?) That one really frightened me. It was visually very dark and the scenes from the future were creepy to me.

  2. marmeladegypsy

    You know the song, “I need a little Christmas, right this very minute?” Well, I saved this piece for when I “needed a little Christmas.” Even though the Christmas decorations are still up (because I don’t have a path or space to get them down — long story but it’s making me crazy.) I’ve always love “A Christmas Carol” and its various adaptations (although not so much the recent BBC version). Even the musical. Even (on occasion, though not so much) the crappy, formulaic Hallmark movies where Scrooge is a business executive and Barbara Cratchitt her suffering assistant. I love the predictability of them, the redemption of them. It’s not the season if I don’t see at least two or three variations. I loved how you broke this down, the observation of social commentary as well as a good story and of course the ghostiness of it. I didn’t realize Dickens did ghost stories as such. Well, he did a fine one here!

    I hope your new year is going well. I needed this jolt today and I thank you!

  3. J_on_tour

    Scrooge is one of those things that has reminded me more of Christmas this year with friends and relatives having to work later on Christmas Eve. I have been exposed to Scrooge twice this season, once was a hilarious local and almost professional drama group covering it and the other was the very dark and gripping 2019 TV adaption. I feel that there’s never enough emphasis or rather time spent on the end of the story. Happy New Year to you and yours.

  4. notesoflifeuk

    Did you know that Ebeneezer Scrooge is buried in St Chad’s Churchyard in Shrewsbury? The film crew of the 1980’s film carved his details (with permission) into an old, weathered gravestone in the churchyard and there it remains! 😀

    I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. All the best for 2020! 🙂

  5. Clare Pooley

    I enjoyed this post very much, Mike – an excellent summary and commentary on one of my favourite Christmas reads.
    I hope you have had a good Christmas so far and that your new year will be a healthy and happy one.

  6. Denise at Forest Manor

    Hi Mike,

    I was pleased when I saw your post on “A Christmas Carol” because Hal and I had just watched it earlier in the week. We have the version with Patrick Stewart playing Scrooge on DVD, and I wanted to watch it again. “A Christmas Carol” has always been one of my favorite Christmas stories, as Dickens is also one of my favorite authors. Our son also loves this story, and at the age of 29, still reads it every Christmas Eve in one sitting. 🙂

    I gave him a nice hardback version years ago, then bought the same one for myself, along with a pretty leather bound copy a few years later. As always, I appreciate all the information you’ve shared here in your post.

    Thanks so much for the Christmas Good Wishes, my friend! I’ve had such a busy year, it’s been difficult to keep up with my blog and my blogging friends. However, I’ve just ordered your book from Amazon, and they tell me it will be delivered this Sunday. I look forward to reading it!!

    I hope you and Mrs B had a lovely Christmas and I hope we all, on both sides of the Pond, have a wonderful 2020. Take care, Mike, and keep in touch!!

    Hugs XX,

    Denise

  7. myplaidheart

    Mike, this is such a thoughtful and well-written piece. I learned something new regarding how the story was written in staves. Very interesting. I enjoyed every word!

    I just love “A Christmas Carol” and the movies you mentioned at the end. Two other perennial favorites of mine are “Going My Way” and ‘The Bells of St. Mary’s”. I can’t watch the former without crying every single time.

    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas. All the best in 2020!

  8. Lisa G.

    Merry Christmas, Mike! God bless you. 🙂 “The Man Who Invented Christmas” is a pretty good one, too – fairly recent.
    Everyone says the Alastair Sim is the best, so I should watch it again. The George C. Scott is my favorite – I love the sets.

    1. Mike@bitaboutbritain Post author

      Thanks Lisa – and God bless you too. I enjoyed ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’ – it was a clever take on the story. I watched the George C Scott version recently and it was good (made a change from Patton); but I still prefer Alastair Sim!

  9. zooperson

    What a Christmas treat this essay is. I always come away from reading your work with some new insights. I say to myself, “oh, goodie gumdrop,” when I see a new post as I know I’ll get to take a little trip to somewhere I’ve most likely never been and with a perspective to consider—all with a dollop of good humor. Merry Christmas and thanks for keeping up informed so entertainingly.

  10. Ellen

    Merry Christmas and God Bless Us Everyone! Believe it or not our pastor just completed a three part sermon series on this book. The last sermon was the best of all.

  11. pollymacleod

    Excellent post Mike. I love A Christmas Carol. I don’t think I can get any better !!! 🙂 Merry Christmas to you and Mrs ABAB x

  12. Cee Arr @ Dora Reads

    I’m a big fan of the Jim Carrey version of A Christmas Carol – one of the few adaptations that include Ignorance and Want, and don’t shy away from the social commentary of the novella. (I love the Muppets version too, of course!)

    1. Shane Waterman

      Cee Arr – agree with you. The Robert Zemekis/Jim Carrey version is good. Maybe a little too reliant on the special effects possible with CGI (but Zemekis did direct the Back to the Future films, so you have an idea what you’re in for 😀 )

      BUT… as you say, it is one of the very few screen adaptations to include the Ignorance and Want scene – which is a HUGE pity as it’s the pivotal scene in the way Dickens wrote the story originally. The only thing I have against that particular scene in the movie is the portrayal of the two children. Dickens has them as timid, frightened, emaciated, almost skeletal and designed to shock a Victorian audience – not the aggressive characters Zemekis shows them as.

      At least it’s a whole lot better than the 1951 adaptation with Alistair Sim as Scrooge. His portrayal of the main character might have been one of the best, but the film itself takes so much licence (even Scrooge’s fiance isn’t called Belle – she’s Alice!! Go figure!) personally I place it only a smidgen above ‘Bugs Bunny’s Christmas Carol’… he said, tongue in cheek….. maybe… 😉

      1. Cee Arr @ Dora Reads

        I’m a big fan of the animation in the Jim Carrey version so I can’t get behind you on the CGI point – sorry! 🙂 Being the total animation nerd that I am, I absolutely *adore* the motion-capture in that film! I know how difficult skin-texture and the dead-eye problem are with motion-capture, and they get over those problems so well! 🙂 <3

      2. Marty

        The Sim version was the first I ever saw (as a young child), and it was a little while before I realized how many liberties it took with the story. It’ still made the kind of impression on me that Dickens intended, The actors and atmosphere were great even if the “special effects” weren’t impressive. (An American magazine’s film reviewer said the ghosts’ costumes looked lovingly homemade.)

  13. pennyhampson2

    What an interesting and thought-provoking article, Mike. Dickens was so clever, weaving in social commentary, humour, and pathos, in his Christmas story. It’s been a long time since I read it, but I think it’s due for a re-read. Merry Christmas!

  14. hilarymb

    Hi Mike – loved your take on this … and I’ll be back to re-read more than once. Alistair Sim as Scrooge – was just brilliant and I quite agree … a performance worthwhile seeing again and again.

    Thank you for this and I’d no idea about Dickens’ writing using staves … but … you’ve given us the perfect thinking bloggers and all people’s post for Christmas … wonderful!

    Cheers and all the best to you and family – Happy times – Hilary

  15. Jane Sturgeon

    I read ‘A Christmas Carol’ many years ago and have watched the films since. I avoided the BBC’s one last night, as it felt too dark. I need to read it again. Thank you. Mike, for this informative essay.

    Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones and love for 2020. <3

      1. Marty

        The new BBC version was a good case of producers who think that they can improve on the work of a genius! It seemed to want to showcase their Scrooge’s despicable acts while downplaying Dickens’ emphasis on goodwill and redemption. A “reality show” version of the story..

  16. franklparker

    Thank you for a wonderfully thoughtful and enlightening essay, Mike. My mother read A Christmas Carol aloud to us, as she did most of Dickens. I wonder what he’d make of the way ignorance and want still stalk this, the 5th or 6th richest nation in the world?
    Do please enjoy the celelbrations with your loved ones, and here’s to 2020 and the hope that things won’t turn out as bad as I fear they might!

  17. mekslibrarian

    I have never read the book, either, but of course I know the story more or less like everybody else in the Western hemisphere. Anyway, your explanations added background and substance to it; thank you for that!
    Merry Christmas to you and yours, Mike!

  18. joannerambling

    I have never read the book, seen a couple of versions of the movie and really liked the movie “The Man Who Invented Christmas” which is about how he wrote the story

  19. Pamela

    Excellent thoughts. Well said. I read ‘A Christmas Carol’ every year. Charles Dickens is my favourite novelist. In fact, I recently finished ‘A Tale of Two Cities’. Somehow I had got through life to that point without reading it. The mind reels. Anyway, Alistair Sim is my favourite Scrooge, and ‘A Christmas Carol’ is my main holiday film. I have seen multiple productions of it, like many of us, I suppose. Getting a second chance is a great hope. The idea that Redemption is possible keeps my heart running. If hope and joy and love are not what this season is about, and what makes like worth living, I don’t know what does. Cheers!

  20. Helen Devries

    My father was a Dickens fanatic…but loathed Christmas so never read the Carol aloud to me. I found it on the bookshelves and read it for myself.
    Just hope the current Prime Minister has it read to him on Christmas Eve, or we will have a lot more want and ignorance on its way.

  21. Shane Waterman

    Mike – one of the best pieces I’ve read in a long time about A Christmas Carol. As you know, I take a lot of people around my home town of Rochester, telling them all about Dickens life. At this time of year, it’s all about Dickens, Christmas and ‘that book’ as he bitterly referred to it after making so little from it financially in it’s first year of publication.

    I always try to bring people back to seeing the book as Dickens intended it – a Secular, Spiritual Parable… for adults. It was never intended as the children’s story Hollywood has taken it towards in over 40+ attempts since 1900.

    Interested in what you say that it is best read aloud. I read aloud (in my best theatrical voice!) the passage which is the clincher which sent a javelin into the hearts of a Victorian middle class which thought itself cultured, intellectual, ‘moral’ and with the World at it’s feet. It’s the passage when the bells chime the three-quarter hour before midnight with the Spirit of Christmas Present when he reveals the two children – Ignorance and Want – to Scrooge.

    The look on the faces of my audience never fails to make an impact on ME, even though I’m the reader!

    I explain to them NOT to focus on the Tiny Tim element so much, and think about what Dickens is saying in the other passages throughout the story

    People have contacted me after the walks and told me they have since re-read the story and now see it much more for what Dickens intended. Nice feeling when you get comments back like that 🙂

    Love seeing your posts – keep ’em coming in 2020. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    Shane
    Rochester History Walking Tours

    1. Mike@bitaboutbritain Post author

      Thanks, Shane; your walks sound great. I used to live near Maidstone, so visited Rochester then, but haven’t been for years. I need to rectify that. Thanks for your kind words – and a very Merry Christmas to you too.

  22. Darlene

    In grade three, our wonderful teacher took on a very ambitious project of us producing a puppet show of A Christmas Carol for the school concert. It was my introduction to Charles Dickens at age 9 and I have been a fan ever since. Thanks for this great post. Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas season, Mike.

      1. Anne Clare

        Whoops- meant to add this to my own comment- sorry! I should know better than to type on my phone- sorry! (And a Dickens puppet show sounds like a fantastic way to bring the story home to 3rd graders! ☺)

  23. Anne Clare

    I’m ashamed to admit that, while I’ve viewed several versions of “A Christmas Carol,” I don’t think I’ve ever read the original! It’s time to amend my ways and- oh! Look at that, the Kindle edition is only $.99. While it doesn’t seem like really READING it without a cover and that nice musty book smell, that’ll do for now…
    Thanks for another great post, Mike. Those stories of hope and redemption are one of the best things this time of year. 🙂 A very Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    1. Mike@bitaboutbritain Post author

      I think they should sell a series of book sprays for Kindles. You could have an entire range of fragrances, starting with ‘freshly pressed’, going through one not very careful owner’, ‘damp house clearance’ and ending up with ‘antique musty’.

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