By Seán Hall
On 19th December 1843, Charles Dickens published his all-time classic ‘A Christmas Carol’. The book was written at a time when Dickens’ serial novel, ‘Martin Chuzzlewit’, published in monthly instalments, was not receiving the same praise as his previous works. Subtitling his new December book with ‘A Ghost Story for Christmas’, showed how he was breaking from Christmas tradition and working with the mysterious and the ancient, rather than the whimsical.
Prince Albert and Queen Victoria were newlyweds at this point, and Albert had imported German traditions of celebrating the Nativity season to Britain – the most famous one being the ‘Tannenbaum’, still used widely today and known in the English language as the ‘Christmas tree’.