"Article originally published for Helium Website
Originally published in 1851, Dickens speaks directly to the reader, using the voice of “we” to create an informal tone that connects him well to the reader.
Dickens explains that adults should celebrate relationships during the Christmas season the same ways they did as children. Dickens begins the short story with joyful images of Christmas Day experienced by many children. He compares the day to a “magic ring” within the first sentence and describes youth with “resolute hope” who are doted on by parents.
When these children grow to become adults, explains Dickens, a different type of Christmas emerges. Adults often look for a “pearl,” which is a desire to obtain fame or honor. The message is clear that there needs to be a return to the bright hopefulness and joy experience by children. Be thankful for the fond Christmas memories experienced as children.
Dickens pleads for readers to remember the positive moments of childhood gathered around the Christmas fire. He points out the importance of embracing the qualities of forgiveness and friendship once felt as children at Christmastime. Be thankful, he writes, for relationships developed throughout the year and pay respects to loved ones who have passed.
Dickens spends a significant portion of the short story discussing the sadness many people feel at Christmas over the loss of loved ones. While many stories look solely at positive images of Christmas, Dickens acknowledges that the holiday season may evoke sadness and loneliness.
The writer proposes readers “receive” those people now by celebrating their lives and fond memories of the lost friends and family members. Dickens does not shy away from death or dark images, but instead tells readers to embrace memories of the deceased and hold them close by the Christmas “fire.”
Dickens has written several acclaimed novels and short stories. Other Christmas short stories published by Charles Dickens include 'A Christmas Tree' (published in 1850) and 'The Poor Relation’s Story' (published in 1852). The message to maintain childhood optimism as an adult remains a current theme of literary works today.