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Charles Dickens - The Father of Christmas

18 December 2018

Charles Dickens greeted visitors to The Dickens Christmas Festival recently

Charles Dickens greeted visitors to The Dickens Christmas Festival recently

In 1843, public spirit for the Christmas holiday was dwindling. Viewed by many still as a lively pagan festival, the rise of the puritans had a lasting effect on the now sombre celebration which was often seen below Easter and even Boxing Day.

Seen largely as an expensive tradition, Christmas largely fell out of fashion, except in rural pockets up and down the country. It is likely this time in Charles Dickens’ youth that he experienced a white Christmas full of frivolity and what becomes the influence for the snowy setting of London in his novella, A Christmas Carol.

Despite the introduction of the Christmas tree to England, brought over from Germany by Prince Albert upon his marriage to Queen Victoria, A Christmas Carol can be credited with the resurgence of the popularity of Christmas. The Christian Allegory placed the importance back on the family and on charity rather than wealth and extravagance. It is Bob Cratchit and his struggling family who resonated universally with the public and his cheery disposition in the face of hardship and even heartbreak.

It is Ebenezer Scrooge’s miraculous change into the embodiment of Christmas – kind, generous and compassionate – that changed the face of Christmas forever and is why many consider Charles Dickens to be the ‘Father of Christmas.’ The novella was a roaring success, with the first edition selling out by Christmas Eve.

The tale has continued to published and circulated, interpreted on stage and film alike. It was for this reasoning that our 19th edition of our annual Christmas celebration became the Dickens Christmas Festival. And why we’ll be continuing the celebration with special performances of the famous tale inside the Victory Gallery on 22, 28 and 29 December at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. See the performances live and in the unique setting of Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard this holiday season.

Visit top Royal Navy attractions this season

Experience festive performances this season and meet new friends. Save 20% on a Full Navy Ticket when you book online. 

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