As Christmas approaches, we all think of Charles Dickens’ novel, A Christmas Carol – one of the world’s most celebrated stories around Christmas. But did you know that Charles Dickens wrote many more around the beloved holiday – one of which, in fact, convinced a factory owner to give his workers an off on Christmas!
A Christmas Carol
‘If I had my way, every idiot who goes around with Merry Christmas on his lips, would be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. Merry Christmas? Bah humbug!’
To bitter, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, Christmas is just another day. But all that changes when the ghost of his long-dead business partner appears, warning Scrooge to change his ways before it’s too late.
Part of the Focus on the Family Great Stories collection, this abridged edition features an in-depth introduction and discussion questions by Joe Wheeler to provide greater understanding for today’s reader. “A Christmas Carol” captures the heart of the holidays like no other novel.
“The Chimes” is Charles Dickens 1844 novella that concerns the disillusionment of Toby “Trotty” Veck, a poor working-class man. When Trotty has lost his faith in Humanity and believes that his poverty is the result of his unworthiness he is visited on New Year’s Eve by spirits to help restore his faith and show him that nobody is born evil, but rather that crime and poverty are things created by man.
The Cricket on the Hearth
The Cricket on the Hearth was published in 1845 in a version with illustrations by 5 artists. This edition uses illustrations from a 1900 version. It was one of Dickens’ five Christmas books
The title creature is a sort of barometer of life at the home of John Peerybingle and his much younger wife Dot. When things go well, the cricket on the hearth chirps; it is silent when there is sorrow. Tackleton, a jealous old man, poisons John’s mind about Dot, but the cricket through its supernatural powers restores John’s confidence and all ends happily.
The Battle of Life
The Battle of Life: A Love Story is a novella by Charles Dickens, 1st published in 1846. It’s the 4th of his five “Christmas Books”, coming after The Cricket on the Hearth, followed by The Haunted Man & the Ghost’s Bargain.
The setting is an English village that stands on the site of a historic battle. Some characters refer to the battle as a metaphor for the struggles of life, hence the title.
Battle is the only one of the five Christmas Books that has no supernatural or explicitly religious elements. (One scene takes place at Christmas time, but it isn’t the final scene.) The story bears some resemblance to The Cricket on the Hearth in two aspects: it has a non-urban setting & it’s resolved with a romantic twist. It’s even less of a social novel than is Cricket. As is typical with Dickens, the ending is a happy one.
It’s one of Dickens’ lesser-known works & has never attained any high level of popularity, a trait it shares among the Christmas Books with The Haunted Man.
The Haunted Man and The Ghost’s Bargain