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Christmas A to Z

Learn interesting, unusual, unique and useful facts and tips about Christmas and the winter holiday season, in America and around the world.

Charles Dickens, the Master of Christmas Stories

W

e all know about Scrooge and his Three Spirits and Tiny Tim – but we have to thank poor sales of Dickens’ previous work, The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit, for bringing them to us. Dickens wrote many of his novels as serials – they would appear chapter by chapter in various magazines and then be collected into one book. The publishers of Chuzzlewit wanted their advance back because of its poor serial sales so Dickens decided to write Carol as a book in time for Christmas 1843.

That worked and Dickens went on to write David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities and other great novels. But, he also got hooked on Christmas stories. He wrote four more: The Chimes (1844), The Cricket on the Hearth (1845) The Battle of Life (1846), and The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain (1848).

Cricket was much more successful than Carol, with sales running ahead until the beginning of the 20th century. It was much more a fantasy and less social commentary and placed a great deal of emphasis on family and home which appealed to its Victorian readers.

After 1848 Dickens had too much else on his plate to continue the very popular Christmas books – but he continued to write short stories with Christmas themes which were published in various magazines, including his own, almost until his death in 1870.

Written by Dianne Weller
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