Dickens Gave Us Christmas, and Ghosts

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Today there is plenty of fretting over the “War on Christmas,” but the holiday didn’t always hold such importance in everyday lives, even for Christians. Two hundred years ago, industrialization gave people a lot more to worry about than Black Friday sales and eggnog-soaked office holiday parties. The Guardian credits Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol with helping launch a more modern idea of merriment and charity, rather than the Christian religious holiday Christmas had historically been. And of course, Dickens also wrote a ghost story in A Christmas Carol, helping remind everyone of death.


Ian MacAllen is the Rumpus Deputy Editor and founder of English Kills Review an online literary magazine focused on books, authors, and New York City. His writing has appeared in Little Fiction, Vol 1 Brooklyn, Joyland Magazine, Chicago Review of Books, Fiction Advocate, and elsewhere. He holds a Master’s Degree in English from Rutgers University and lives in Brooklyn. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at IanMacAllen.com. More from this author →