I don't know how much Dickens's A Christmas Carol has affected the Christmas culture of other countries, but it is deeply ingrained in America's Christmas lore despite its British setting. That Victorian era snow covered streets and people with bonnets and top hats conjure visions of Christmas nearly as much as the stable or the sleigh. We receive or send cards adorned with period inspired drawings (much like the book's cover). Why in a neighboring town to ours, there is a "Dickens of a Christmas" every year and shop windows for one night look like the shops near Scrooge's office.
You may not know this, but Charles Dickens was a 19th Century rock star of literature. When he came to America, crowds waited at the docks to meet his arriving ship. He was known to sign 500 autographs at a time for admiring fans. Some of his writings were released in serial form, making the waiting for the next installment equivalent to waiting for the next season of Downton Abbey. While most of his books exceed 500 pages, the one title most modern Americans recognize is his novella The Christmas Carol has fewer than 125. Whether you've read the actual book or seen one of the many movie versions, you certainly know the story of Ebeneezer Scrooge and his selfish, stingy ways. Why his last name in lower case form is now recognized as a noun meaning a cold-hearted, stingy person.
Bob Welch's new holiday book 52 LITTLE LESSONS FROM A CHRISTMAS CAROL beckons you to look at this classic with new eyes. First, the author shares the social and political climate which spurred Dicken's to write the novella and then he shares "little life lessons" drawn from the actions of Scrooge, Marley, Bob Cratchit, Scrooge's nephew, and of course, Tiny Tim. With 52 lessons, and each one being only a few pages, the concept of the book seems to fit a schedule of one per week over a year's time span but I know I would set aside a Christmas topic mid-year, so I recommend planning to read Welch's title as an accompaniment to reading the actual novel or watching your favorite movie version. Or why not schedule a family Christmas Carol marathon? Read the story orally over a couple nights (maybe with family members taking roles), then watch more than one movie version, and each time share several of the lessons provided by Welch. 52 LESSONS would make a great gift and is sure to be one that can be read each Christmas season or passed on to many readers in the extended family.
Here are a couple lesson titles -- Misery Loves Company, Don't Let People Steal Your Joy, Everyone has Value, and See Life as a Child. I let you wonder how each lesson ties into the story itself. I am sure you can tell that the last one is about Tiny Tim's life attitude. But as Welch explains, there is a strong parallel between Dickens's joyful and hopeful Tiny Tim and Christ's admonishment that we should seek the kingdom of God with the heart of a child. I received a copy of 52 LITTLE LESSONS FROM A CHRISTMAS CAROL from BOOKLOOK for my honest review. I encourage you to find this title, and if you find it as entertaining as I did, then check out Welch's books 52 LITTLE LESSONS FROM IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE and 52 LITTLE LESSONS FROM LES MISERABLES.