For Charles Dickens, Christmas was a time for high-spirited celebrations and fun. But most importantly, for Charles Dickens Christmas was also a time for love and for opening up your heart to friends and strangers alike. Here are some of the loveliest things he wrote about the festive season.

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Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!

The Pickwick Papers

 

Christmas time! That man must be a misanthrope indeed, in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not roused – in whose mind some pleasant associations are not awakened – by the recurrence of Christmas.

Sketches by Boz

 

Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes.

Nicholas Nickleby

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Seasonable tokens are about. Red berries shine here and there in the lattices of Minor Canon Corner; Mr. and Mrs. Tope are daintily sticking sprigs of holly into the carvings and sconces of the Cathedral stalls, as if they were sticking them into the coat-button-holes of the Dean and Chapter. Lavish profusion is in the shops: particularly in the articles of currants, raisins, spices, candied peel, and moist sugar.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

 

Christmas was close at hand, in all his bluff and hearty honesty; it was the season of hospitality, merriment, and open-heartedness; the old year was preparing, like an ancient philosopher, to call his friends around him, and amidst the sound of feasting and revelry to pass gently and calmly away.

The Pickwick Papers

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It was a shame to quarrel upon Christmas Day. And so it was! God love it, so it was!

A Christmas Carol

 

For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.

A Christmas Carol

 

But I am sure 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, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.

A Christmas Carol

Antique Victorian Christmas tree ornaments including Santa Claus, reindeer and candles decorating a festive tree.

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I will honour Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.

A Christmas Carol

 

The poulterers’ shops were still half open, and the fruiterers’ were radiant in their glory. There were great, round, pot-bellied baskets of chestnuts, shaped like the waistcoats of jolly old gentlemen, lolling at the doors, and tumbling out into the street in their apoplectic opulence. There were ruddy, brown-faced, broad-girthed Spanish Onions, shining in the fatness of their growth like Spanish Friars, and winking from their shelves in wanton slyness at the girls as they went by, and glanced demurely at the hung-up mistletoe. There were pears and apples, clustered high in blooming pyramids; there were bunches of grapes, made, in the shopkeepers’ benevolence to dangle from conspicuous hooks, that people’s mouths might water gratis as they passed; there were piles of filberts, mossy and brown, recalling, in their fragrance, ancient walks among the woods, and pleasant shufflings ankle deep through withered leaves; there were Norfolk Biffins, squab and swarthy, setting off the yellow of the oranges and lemons, and, in the great compactness of their juicy persons, urgently entreating and beseeching to be carried home in paper bags and eaten after dinner.

A Christmas Carol

 

I have been looking on, this evening, at a merry company of children assembled round that pretty German toy, a Christmas Tree. The tree was planted in the middle of a great round table, and towered high above their heads. It was brilliantly lighted by a multitude of little tapers; and everywhere sparkled and glittered with bright objects.

A Christmas Tree

 

Happy Christmas Charles. And may God bless us, every one!

Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870) was the most popular English novelist of the Victorian era. Woodcut from "Die Bunte Welt. Illustriertes Volksblatt (The Colorful World. Illustrated People's Journal)", Year 1872, published by Adolph Wolf, Dresden (1872)

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