There are too many adaptations of Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol” to accurately count.
Many, whether made for film or television, stick to what Dickens wrote in 1843, making only minor changes to plot and characters along the way to provide their own spin on the famous story. Others simply take the template provided by Dickens and put modern twists on it.
But nothing can truly compare to the actual written word, and while many “A Christmas Carol” adaptation do justice to Dickens’ vision, none can match his words … his story.
For instance, while many film fans recall that Scrooge and the burly Ghost of Christmas Present make a stop at the Crachit house just in time to hear Tiny Tim exclaim, “God bless us, everyone,” fans of the book know that it is but one stop on an exhaustive journey undertaken by the two that evening.
As Dickens tells it, the Ghost of Christmas Present conducts Scrooge all over the world, visiting a coal mine, a ship out at sea, and a lighthouse, waves crashing all around. At each stop, the ghost and Scrooge simply observe, and what they find are people in difficult circumstances, living and working under harsh conditions, many with their lives at risk, all taking a moment to celebrate the holiday.
Some sing songs. Others share a drink and raise a glass to Christmas. Still others exchange gifts, meager as they might be, with family and friends.
The message to the reader is clear. Though Christmas may arrive when times are tough and circumstances unforgiving, though it may not bring with it any of the traditional trappings, people can still find joy in the holiday.
They can choose to be happy.
A more recent Christmas tale, one familiar to most every Christmas-loving child in America, is that of Dr. Seuss’ “The Grinch,” who devises a devious plan to “steal” holiday joy from all of the Who down in Whoville. After snatching up their presents and decorations, the Grinch is shocked to discover that the Whos are still happy, still singing, still celebrating Christmas, even without all their things.
Christmas Eve 2020 may provide less “things” for all of us. There may be less presents. There may be less parties. There may be less food, less decorations, less events to attend. There may even be less people with whom we can all celebrate.
The Grinch may not have come and stolen all our garland, but COVID-19 has certainly been trying to steal our health, both physical and mental. It has worn on us, every day, for nearly a year. This has certainly been a year of less.
But it’s also been a year to remind us that the important things, the truly important parts of life, are not what we find under a tree. So if you find yourself with less of something this Christmas Eve, don’t dwell on it. Instead, focus on what you do have. If there are less gifts under the tree, be grateful for what is there and, more importantly, the thought that went into giving it. If you don’t have as many get-togethers this year, be excited for the ones you do have and make the absolute most of them.
And if you don’t have as many people in your life this year, center your attention on the ones you do have and enjoy each moment together, knowing that nothing is guaranteed for tomorrow.
When Scrooge finally emerges from his spiritual journey, he realizes that Christmas isn’t about things, but is rather a state of mind. Choose to be glad this holiday season, stay safe, and enjoy each and every minute of it.
From the entire staff at The Cheshire Herald, we wish you the happiest of holidays and the merriest of Christmases!