How did A Christmas Carol affect modern Christmas traditions?
As well as being a huge best-seller, A Christmas Carol has also had a profound effect on how successive generations have celebrated the festive season. For instance, when Dickens wrote the book it was common for people in England to eat goose for Christmas dinner. But thanks to Scrooge's purchase of the biggest turkey in the butcher's shop window, all that changed. Ever since then, turkey has been the staple of Christmas dinners the world over.
Talking of old Ebenezer, his surname has become a synonym for those individuals who, for whatever reason, refuse to get into the Christmas spirit. Towards the end of the year, newspapers are full of stories about "Scrooge bosses" who won't allow their employees extra time off for the holiday season, or "Scrooge politicians" who implement large cuts in aid for the poorest members of society just in time for Christmas.
At the time when Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol, the popularity of Christmas was on the wane, with many devoutly religious folk seeing it as a holdover from pagan times. The enormous success of the book changed that attitude almost overnight. By reminding his readers of the true meaning of Christmas, Dickens was able to make celebrating this joyous occasion respectable for people everywhere.
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