How does Charles Dickens represent the importance of Christmas throughout A Christmas Carol?

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There are a lot of good answers on this page already about how Dickens underscored the importance of Christmas by highlighting charity, family, joy, and good health, among other things, in A Christmas Carol . Another way in which the day of Christmas is given importance throughout the novel, is...

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There are a lot of good answers on this page already about how Dickens underscored the importance of Christmas by highlighting charity, family, joy, and good health, among other things, in A Christmas Carol. Another way in which the day of Christmas is given importance throughout the novel, is as an opportunity for personal reflection.

Built into the very structure of A Christmas Carol is the idea that Christmas is a point in the graph of one’s life. Logically, any day of the year could be tagged as a marker to look back (and forward) from, but Christmas is generally an especially memorable day of the year, which makes it the prime vantage point to look over one’s life. Scrooge’s journey of reflecting on the lonely Christmases of his youth, his relationship with his sister and eventual divorce from Belle, is made possible through ghostly magic. But part of the reason A Christmas Carol has endured is because anyone has the capacity to reflect on their life, ghosts or no, so long as they’re open to introspection.

Christmas is a designated day that has a way of sticking in a person’s memory. The day itself is endowed with all sorts of fantastical connotations. But it also functioned as a wonderful, logical graph on which Scrooge—and anyone else who celebrates Christmas—can examine his life.

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Throughout the story, Christmas stands for or symbolizes all the behavior that Dickens believed constituted the good life. Christmas is depicted over and over again in the book as a time of generous giving, sociality, kindness, compassion to the poor, and joyful celebration. Fezziwig's Christmas dance and party, for example, typifies the kind of cheerfulness and caring for others that Dickens hoped people would extend to each other both on and beyond the Christmas season. The Cratchits, too, do everything in their power to have a happy Christmas. Fred extends a hand of friendship to an uncle—Scrooge—who is nothing but rude to him, showing the forgiveness and patience that is part of the Christmas spirit.

In the book, how a person behaves with regards to Christmas says something important about his or her character. Scrooge shows his hard, twisted, destructive nature most clearly when he is not touched in the least way by the Christmas spirit, but, instead, wishes Christmas would go away. At the end of the book, Scrooge's transformed response to Christmas becomes the model for how Dickens would like everyone to act, every day of the year: generous, exuberant, delighted to be alive, and thinking of the welfare of others first.

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Dickens represents Christmas as an opportunity for people to be kind and generous, and as though it might remind people how they ought to behave throughout the entire year. As the men collecting money for the poor tell Scrooge:

"We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when want is keenly felt, and abundance rejoices."

Christmas should be a joyful time, but it cannot be as joyful for those who have no food to eat or fuel to keep warm or even must go without a roof over their heads. Further, it is cold and fresh food is scarce, and those who can afford it seem to spend more and enjoy themselves while those who cannot feel their need even more than during other times of the year. This presents those people with the means to assist their fellow men and women with a beautiful opportunity to do so during a time that is already so difficult. However, it is not simply enough to do good, to be generous, at Christmas time; instead, one must make "'Mankind [one's] business,'" as Marley says. It is just at "'this time of the rolling year [that] [he] suffer[s] most.'"

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Christmas is one of the most important themes of A Christmas Carol.  Charles Dickens used Scrooge's nephew, Fred, to show the importance of Christmas throughout the story.  He also used other characters to do this.  At the beginning of the story, Fred visited his uncle to wish him a merry Christmas.  Scrooge made it clear that he did not care for Christmas.  Fred told his uncle about the joys of Christmas.  He told him that it was a time for kindness and giving.  He explained that though he was poor, he believed Christmas to be wonderful.

Later Scrooge was visited by the first spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Past.  This spirit showed him Christmases in his past, such as when he went home to live with his family and the Fezziwig party.

Scrooge was then visited by the Ghost of Christmas Present.  He saw that though the Cratchit family and his nephew Fred were poor, they still enjoyed the simple joys of Christmas.  They still valued that special time.

After Scrooge was visited by the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, he begged for redemption.  He promised to "honour Christmas" and change his life.  When he was given a second chance, he became a man who loved and valued Christmas.  He become generous and kind.  From then on, Scrooge "[kept] Christmas well."

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