Over two centuries have passed since Dickens first wrote A Christmas Carol, yet it still remains one of the most famous Christmas tales ever published. First written in 1843, the story came at a time when new Christmas traditions like carols and Christmas trees were becoming more popular in British culture.
The first edition of the tale proved to be so popular, it had sold out by Christmas eve, following it’s release a mere 5 days previously. By the end of the following year, 13 editions of the book had been released, with Dickens subsequently conducting many readings of the tale all over the country. Today, the story has been reproduced all over the world into film, stage and even opera.
The story tells the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, a penny-pincher who is often visited by the ghost of his former business partner and the spirits of Christmas past, present and those of Christmases yet to come.
While it’s easy to see the book as a mere tale of a miserable old man, there are a host of positive lessons we can take and apply towards creating a more fulfilling life.
1.“No space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused”
They say the only chances you regret are the ones you don’t take, and this lesson is firmly applied into A Christmas Carol. It is vital we make the most of the time we have and as such make the most of every opportunity that comes our way. There’s nothing worse than looking back and wondering ‘what if’!
2.“It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.”
Even in the most testing of times, having a positive outlook can encourage positive change. Not just seeing the positive side in a bad situation, but the belief in that better times are coming. Surrounding yourself with supportive friends and family can really help in working towards a better future.
3.“Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on that stone”
Here Scrooge pleads with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come to erase his name from his own headstone. It is here he realises the time he has wasted on money and power. How this all becomes meaningless at the end of one’s life. To know this now means we are able to change our behaviours now. Having the understanding of where to place our values in life will ensure we spend our time on those worthwhile, rather than those which are only of benefit to ourselves.
4.“The consequence of his taking a dislike to us, and not making merry with us, is, as I think, that he loses some pleasant moments, which could do him no harm. I am sure he loses pleasanter companions than he can find in his own thoughts”
Grudges will never get us anywhere! Holding onto past mistakes or unpleasantries against someone serves no purpose at all. Scrooge’s bitterness is at the heart of his own unhappiness. By adopting an open mind, we have the chance to discover a new sense of happiness.
5.“Spirit, conduct me where you will.”
On the subject of being open minded, everything starts with listening. The more we listen before we respond, the more we are able to learn. Often, we can be quick to speak before fully understanding a situation. Scrooge eventually learns to trust the spirts knowing they do have his best interests at heart and eventually allows them to guide him, rather than discounting them.
6.“I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach”
Finally, Scrooge realises the lessons of the spirts. He understands the meaning of becoming more welcoming, listening and adapting to others around him. It’s never too late to make a change and adapt who you are. No matter what our situation, there is always the chance to make a change, and start again.