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Christmas Books

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  26,380 ratings  ·  505 reviews
Each of these short stories was written specifically for Christmas. They combine concern for social ills with the myths and memories of childhood and traditional Christmas spirit-lore. The stories are: A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, The Battle of Life, The Haunted Man and The Cricket on the Hearth. These 5 stories were first published together as 'The Christmas Books' in 1 ...more
Paperback, 383 pages
Published October 5th 1995 by Wordsworth Classics (first published January 1st 1852)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Matt
I am a Christmas traditionalist. That is, I follow various Christmas traditions – both family-inherited and self-imposed – with more faith than usually given to the actual religious underpinnings of the holiday. My wife and therapist both would probably say this is an unconscious attempt on my part to exert control and impose order on my world, but whatever.

On the day after Thanksgiving, I get a tree, a real one, because I’ve already forgotten how hard it was to dispose of last year’s tree. I t
...more
helen the bookowl
Whenever I start a book like this, I expect for it to put me in the Christmas mood, and so it did! From the very first page, I could feel the crispness of the snow under my feet and the chill of the weather, and I didn't mind at all that we were in a graveyard!
Most of these Christmas stories contain pure magic - I especially loved the Sexton one and the legendary A Christmas Carol. Other stories didn't intrigue me that much but they still put me in the mood for Christmas. So all in all, I would
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Grace Tjan
I suppose that a story that is so ubiquitous during Christmas time as this one needs no introduction. I can see why it has been constantly popular for more than one hundred years. I appreciate the writing and craft that goes into the story, the social commentary, the worthy morals, and the affection that generations of readers have for it. But I hated it. Yes, it's official, I'm the Grinch and (pre-reformed) Scrooge rolled into one. I have a heart made of stone, or at least something equally har ...more
MJ Nicholls
Five Christmas novellas from 1843-1848, Dickens’s Xmas-crazy period (followed by the rest of his career), ranging from the oft-forgotten title piece (who reads that anymore?) to the four others read religiously in homes from Puerto Rico to Portsmouth (or have I mixed that up?). ‘The Chimes’ is the grittiest of these moralistic, blatantly sentimental novellas, with its imagined descent into degradation and squalor if the protag refuses to cherish Xmas, and ‘The Cricket on the Hearth’ is the most ...more
Tracey
Only Mr Charles Dickens could ever dream of animating Christmas Fayre with his wonderous prose as he does some chestnuts and a Spanish Onion in A Christmas Carol .
There were great, round, pot-bellied baskets of chestnuts, shaped like the waistcoats of jolly old gentlemen, lolling at the doors, and tumbling out onto the street in there apoplectic opulence. There were ruddy, brown faced, wide –girthed Spanish Onions, shining in the fatness of their growth like Spanish Friars; and winking from thei
...more
Branwen *Blaidd Drwg*
"I have always thought of Christmas time as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely."
Michael
When it comes to Christmas books, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is probably the first book that comes to mind. Published in 1843, this novella was an instant success and has been a beloved classic since then. I am not going to go into a plot summary because I believe most people know the story but if you don’t, go watch A Muppet’s Christmas Carol. Told in five staves (similar to stanzas or verses) this book has been adapted so many times that A Christmas Carol has just become a part of th ...more
Anne
I liked A Christmas Carol, I liked The Chimes and I liked Cricket on the Hearth. The last two stories however, weren't that great in my opinion. I didn't get into the story of The Battle of Life at all until I was well past the first half of it. It wasn't entirely bad because of a few characters I liked; I also liked the little scene at the inn. Come to think of it, that's probably where I finally stopped sighing and got interested instead...
The Haunted Man was entertainable at most. It didn't m
...more
AmberBug *shelfnotes.com*
Dec 17, 2012 AmberBug *shelfnotes.com* rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone during Christmas Time
Oh, Dickens... you've done it again. Pulling at my heartstrings during this special time of year, Christmas. I'm so glad I decided to read this during the Holiday. You see, I'm always left with a bad feeling during Christmas because it makes me so neurotic. Cleaning, shopping, making food, parties, no time to do everything... CHAOS! I detest the feeling of "GO GO GO" and "BUY EVERYTHING". I wish we could live in the times when Christmas was all about giving to those in need and gathering round a ...more
Rikke
"A Christmas Carol" is of course worthy of five stars, but as this is a review of the entire volume as a whole, I have settled on four stars instead.

You can't say "Christmas" without saying "Dickens". It is an undying rule and also a tribute to how great a writer Dickens truly was. How he managed to capture the perfect essence of the Christmas spirit in one small book and therefore creating an everlasting mark on our way to perceive this particular holiday. It is both an astonishing and remarkab
...more
Richard Kramer
I have lived many years thinking I'd read this, but that was actually a big, big lie. I knew the key stuff, because everyone does. But had I read it? No! So, this Christmas, I did. It explodes with high spirits, sentimentality, comedy, hunger for life and fear of the darkness, like most of his stuff. I had two little insights about it, possibly worthless, but not to me. The first is that Scrooge and Marley were more than business partners. They lived together, were both "bachelors"; I thought, a ...more
Brianne Hepworth
I actually enjoyed reading this book. I am obviously familiar with the story, but not completely. My last encounter with Dickens was when I was 16 and I read Great Expectations. While I remember enjoying that book, I also remember I had a REALLY hard time understanding it. Sadly, this book wasn't that different. I often had to reread sentences or paragraphs, or I would just trek on and hope that eventually through context clues I would understand. In the end, I comprehended most everything of wh ...more
Lee Broderick
To begin at the beginning, A Christmas Carol is superb. It's the foundation myth of the secular Christmas for a good reason and no matter how many times you've seen, read or heard any number of different interpretations, the original still maintains an ability to pull on heartstrings. Yes, it moralises (surely the entire point of the story) but somehow it avoids being patronising, just as it can somehow remain magical without being at all mawkish.

Given its incredible power and success, it shou
...more
Chris
I've realized that despite years of watching A Christmas Carol every Christmas (either in movie or play form), I had never actually read the original text. So this year I decided to take some time and read the book prior to seeing the play. I wasn't disappointed...in fact, I was excited to see that the productions I've seen have been fairly true to the text.

Language
The language is very true to the standard Victorian form and to other works of Dickens. The descriptions are ornate and flowery. T
...more
Victoria
Review: A Christmas Carol

(finished 12/29/13)

"I have always thought of Christmas time... as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely."


I must confess, my experiences with Dickens have been limited to my attempt to read Great Expectations in the ninth grade, and Oliver Twist in the tenth. Needless to say, trying to cram Dickens in a short amount of
...more
Pink
I've wavered with my rating for this. If I'm totally honest, it was probably only 2 stars in pure enjoyment factor, but I recognise that it's worthy of more. I enjoyed some of the snappy sentences, liked the plot development and appreciated how certain phrases have lasted 170 years to become part of our language. Overall though, I found it saccharinely marketed for the Victorian audience and some parts were just boring. Having just finished and loved Jane Eyre, which was written around the same ...more
Loren
Giving this 3 stars makes me look like a Scrooge, but really the lack of 5 stars is for the other stories included in the book, not the one you're familiar with. A Christmas Carol really does hold up on re-reading, even if you can quote parts of it aloud. I'd forgotten that Scrooge sees the housekeeper, the landlady, and the undertaker sell his stuff to the pawnbroker. One of them actually took his best shirt off his corpse in order to sell it. That's seriously harsh.

The book is filled out with
...more
Tanya (aka ListObsessedReader)
I've previously read A Christmas Carol, but the rest of this collection was a first time read for me. Some of the stories are wonderful, others good, and one I had a bad time with... So I'm giving it three stars overall, but some of the individual stories are definitely worth more. Very glad to have finally read some more of Dickens' Christmas writings!
Kerry
I'm not sure how to rate this since I only read the first of four (five?) stories, A Christmas Carol. I am glad I read that one, though. Although it's such a short "book" (I think it actually qualifies as a novella) that pretty much everything in it is familiar -- all the little details, for example Marley holding his jaw together with a cloth -- from all the various adaptations. It's not like Dune or something where everything is different and you can revel in the differences.

Anyway it was okay
...more
Paul Haspel
A Christmas without Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol seems unthinkable, and therefore it’s appropriate that this Penguin Books edition of A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings by Dickens is introduced with the famous anecdote of a child in London responding to the news of Dickens’s 1870 passing by crying out, “Dickens dead? Then will Father Christmas die too?” The great British novelist’s influence on how people around the world think about the Christmas holiday remains just as str ...more
David
I must confess that I had seem many film versions of this classic but never taken the time to read it. What I found when I did read of was a story rich with Dicken's brand of clever symbolism and wit. From the very first page Dickens grabbed my attention as be carefully set the stage for a ghost story with a discussion of the need of the reader to know that Jacob Marley was really dead! The reader knows almost at once that this is going to be a ghost story. However, Dickens does this in a clever ...more
Tricia
This is one of those books that I'm a little ashamed to say that I haven't read before. But, my online book group is reading it this month and now I am SO GLAD I can say that I have read it.

I know I don't really need to give any kind of a plot synopsis. But, I can see where I would have been turned off by reading it in my younger years. Dickens does occasionally go off on wordy tangents, which for a book that is only 100 pages seems somewhat unnecessary. But, it was a lovely enjoyable read which
...more
Yasiru (reviews will soon be removed and linked to blog)
To be Dickensian is, once the (albeit crucial) social commentary is discounted, simply put, to be rich (with all the vaguely ironic connotations). Foremost, this means to be rich in detail and occupy such a spectrum that the detail of an individual's anguish or joy or anything in between is never obscured by the vivid and cacophonous gathering or setting he is depicted as either witness to or finding himself a part of, an observer in his own mind if not a stranger. A whole scene can be picked ap ...more
Stefanie Price
Okay, so we all know the story. I know the story, and the various movie adaptations representing it so well that until this was chosen for my book group it had never occurred to me to read it. I am so glad that I now have. Dickens, as always writes in such an evocative manner that you can really feel the bitter, frigid temperatures of dickensian London - it actually makes you feel shivery, so vivid is his descriptive language and powerful storytelling. There is humour that I did not expect in th ...more
Obeyme01
Scrooge is a old man that lost the sight of what Christmas really means. it doesn't mean that you have to spend money it means to spend time with the people that you love not scrooge was visited by three ghost the ghost of Christmas pass, present, and future so far the first two ghost visited him and showed him what his live was like when he was younger and as he gets older. the ghost of Christmas present showed him that the bob craceat that works for him how his life is and scrooge asks if tiny ...more
Peregrine
A Christmas Carol, of course, gets five stars. Tightly and movingly written, it's a masterpiece of a Christmas story. The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain can't decide whether to be frightening or sentimental and, while it does have its moving and its funny bits, does neither frightening nor sentimental very well. The other pieces in this collection come as random pictures meant to spark emotion and feed its flame, to the satiety, or perhaps exhaustion, of the reader. There is something of "s ...more
russell barnes
Dec 31, 2013 russell barnes rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Rob Manwaring
Shelves: classics, christmas
Well it *IS* Saint Michaelmastide isn't it?

Obviously A Christmas Carol is brilliant in every, single way however a couple of things occurred to me whilst reading this collection:

1. I didn't realise how many of Dickens' Christmas stories are actually ghost stories, or at least feature ghosts. It's odd when you think about the tales' festive reputation, but it somehow makes them even better;

2. I remember reading an old edition of the Christmas books on the bus in Wundy Wullington NZ, and whilst
...more
Lilg_2000
I really think that Scrooge's personality is changing as he relives all his Christmas memories and sees all the mistakes that he made when he was younger. Like in the book he said to the ghost that he wish he could go back and give the caroler that was at his door that morning some money. I think Scrooge's social skills were improving because as he watched his younger self and saw how good people treated him he thought about how he is mean and always rude to his clerk
Jade
My very first encounter with Dickens and ooh are these good little Christmas writings!! Little in length, but oh so deep and touching. I love the elaborate, musical prose style, transformations of character, dark humor, and seasonal cheerfulness. The writings at the end should not be missed. From those, I especially loved A Christmas Tree with its toy meditations and the all encompassing spirit of What Christmas Is As We Grow Older. The poem at the end, A Christmas Carol is a lovely tribute to t ...more
Charles
I enjoyed reading Dicken's novella "A Christmas Carol". The language is wonderful and begs to be read out loud. You probably know the story - Ebenezer Scrooge is a mean old man who despises Christmas and the idea of helping others and being pleasant. He is visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Marley, who was as stingy as Scrooge. Marley warns Scrooge about his fate in the afterlife if he doesn't mend his ways, and warns of 3 visitors - the spirit of Christmas past, the spirit of ...more
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A prolific 19th Century author of short stories, plays, novellas, novels, fiction and non-fiction; during his lifetime Dickens became known the world over for his remarkable characters, his mastery of prose in the telling of their lives, and his depictions of the social classes, morals and values of his times. Some considered him the spokesman for the poor, for he definitely brought much awarenes ...more
More about Charles Dickens...
A Tale of Two Cities Great Expectations A Christmas Carol Oliver Twist David Copperfield

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“Reflect upon your present blessings -- of which every man has many -- not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” 622 likes
“It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas when the Great Creator was a child himself.” 9 likes
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