A Christmas Tree

by Charles Dickens • Classic Christmas short story

A CHRISTMAS TREEAs Charles Dickens looks on “at a merry company of children assembled round that pretty German toy, a Christmas tree”, he is filled with wonder at the beauty of the sight. On the tree are candles, toys, fruit, trinkets, “everything and more” which trigger a whole host of memories. He remembers toys he received in his early years, the pantomimes he saw, the toy theatre he played with … But all is not tinsel and sparkle and superficiality. There is darkness too. For where there is light, shadows will also fall. And for a while Dickens cannot resist lurking in those long dark shadows …

In some ways this is typically Dickensian in style, but in others it isn’t. He writes almost in a stream of consciousness as his eyes wander through the branches of the Christmas tree, which makes the story feel quite modern. Yet his memories are clearly of a bygone era. In some parts he is deeply sentimental, but in others, truly insightful. Ultimately, for me, it is the more profound reflections that makes this such a worthwhile story to read.

Publisher: Createspace • Publication date: 2013 • ISBN: 978-1-4927-0345-7

http://www.classicreader.com/book/876/1/ (free online version)

https://www.theguardian.com/books/audio/2012/dec/25/simon-callow-charles-dickens-christmas (free audio version)