Author at Santa Claus Lane in Carpenteria, CA. 2001
We owe alot about the evolution of our present Christmas Day to a novelist.
In fact a novelist has kept his bestseller on the shelves, on stage, and on the big screen — turned into no less than six different movie versions — for 174 years because he was able to take quintessential values about love and attach them to a largely uncelebrated date.
This holiday season a delightful family film, The Man Who Invented Christmas presents the story of Charles Dickens writing of A Christmas Carol. It offers insight on how Christmas became the sacred and family fun filled holiday that it now is.
Christmas has become so beloved since 1843’s arrival of Dickens A Christmas Carol that fun park villages and lanes across America have been dedicated to the annual event. One such lane is shown in the photo above. It was near my hometown in Ventura County off the 101 Highway on the California coast in Carpenteria, California. The famous “Date Shakes” — among other novelties — called many travelers to tap the brakes on their north and south bound drives and indulge their inner child for a few moments.
The American celebration of Christmas combined imported traditions from our cousins in Europe. My Dutch immigrant grandparents brought theirs, and our English, German, Danish, Swiss, Norwegian cousins (among many others) also imported theirs to make the American holiday a unique mix of Christ, Santa, Christmas trees, sleighs, parades, lights, candies, music, carols, gift and a card giving event.
As an author continually in search of the next inspiration for a novel, I find the story of Charles Dickens 1843 inspiration for the perennial classic “A Christmas Carol” compelling and worthy of every reader’s time.
Written in just a six weeks, Dickens’ self-published novel has given us the Ebeneezer Scrooge character which informs us of the cost that a cold heart really is. But it is more than that. It is a story of love lost and refound in a “it’s-never-too-late” plot that is timeless.
Writes Kate Samuelson of Time.com:
“When Dickens pitched a Christmas book to his publishers, they couldn’t understand why anyone would be interested in the idea. But the author had predicted a turn in the yuletide. Queen Victoria had recently married the German Prince Albert, who brought the Christmas tree over from Germany, and the idea of the festival being a time for family and celebration was gradually seeping back into public consciousness…”
I have included a link to the full background article and review of the movie celebrating Dickens creation — The Man Who Invented Christmas — here:
BTW: I give the movie a “10 Star” out of 5 rating; a must see for every lover of the Dickens tale.