Dickens Gave Us Christmas, and Ghosts


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 author of RED SAUCE: HOW ITALIAN FOOD BECAME AMERICAN (April 2022, Rowman & Littlefield). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at IanMacAllen.com. More from this author →