Anyone who knows me know I LOVE the story A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. A really good friend of mine named Mike was trying desperately to shut me up as I blathered on about all my knowledge of Dickensian history and enlightened me to a fact about Dickens and his life that I was somehow completely unaware of.
I know as most do that Dickens persistently wrote of a Britain smothered in beautiful, white, snow. Unfortunately this creates a picture at odds with the recording of only seven white Christmases since 1900. How is it then that Dickens fond childhood memories, the fertile spawning ground for this classic christmas tale, are loaded with the white stuff?
The answer lies in the almanac. A decade of unusually cold weather during his childhood may have influenced his descriptions of Britons “scraping the snow from the pavements in front of their dwellings, and from the tops of their houses” on Christmas morning despite the statistical probability of a grey winter day like any other.
In fact, six of Dickens’s first nine Christmases were white, including one in the winter of 1813-14 during which the ice on the River Thames was thick enough to bear the weight of an elephant.
His novel A Christmas Carol is credited with establishing the Victorian genre of the Christmas story, and spurring a revival of the celebration of Christmas in early Victorian England.
Experts believe Dickens’ childhood in the 1810s, which coincided with the coldest decade in Britain since the 1690s, may have introduced snowy weather into the image of an ideal Christmas.
Happy holidays all! Be safe!