One of my most favourite Christmas tales is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It is the story of Scrooge. Scrooge is a ‘poor aristocrat’ who manages to turn his fortune around to become the richest person in London. This is not your run-of-the-mill Christmas story involving sleighs, nutcrackers, and Christmas baubles. I do love those stories but this story is special to me because I can identify with Scrooge, the protagonist. He accrues a lot of personal wealth but is a philanthropist who is very hard as a person. Scrooge doesn’t believe in the idea of the poor having an easy life because that is not real – he himself has had to work very, very hard for a very long time to get that rich.
In London, going through sleepless nights and skipping dinner at half-past five and bed by nine o’clock, for finding riches and success is not amusing. London is a metropolitan and provincial town, you must follow everything by the book unless you like being told off by older, normally friendly and kind, folks. It’s different when you have had hard times as a poor aristocrat, slaving away, with face covered in soot and dressed in clothes that look too much like a rich and fancy edition of hand-me-downs or rags. Scrooge is a rich miser. He never shares his wealth (not inclusive of philanthropic pursuits) but he cannot be compared to his business friends. They are tormented for eternity because they were selfish with their personal wealth.
Scrooge is a miser who does good for the poor with economic/personal wealth but upon finding it he never permits the poor to have an easy life – I like that about Scrooge. In my opinion, Scrooge knows London all-too-well and is self-involved and powerfully right. The people Scrooge helps are poor families in impoverished estates in London who have never had a proper Christmas. They work tirelessly everyday but don’t earn enough to look after their family properly. They have kids who are handicapped and need treatment but they cannot afford it. They don’t ever have proper Christmas meals. But Scrooge is still a miser.