Archive for the ‘Literature’ Category

December 19, 2015

December 19, 2015

Christmas, Ghosts, and Carols

In today’s culture, the time for ghosts and spirits is long past, with Halloween taking place almost two months ago, but in the Victorian era, Christmas was the time to tell ghost stories, and one of the most prolific is still told today.

“Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge’s name was good upon ‘Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.”

This is the opening to Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, and immediately, the reader is hooked with intrigue! Through the course of this story, Ebeneezer Scrooge is visited by four spirits and rediscovers his love for and appreciation of Christmas and the holidays.

Illustration from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol

Illustration from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

Do you read A Christmas Carol during the holiday season? How about watching one of the many versions on film? Which is your favourite?

December 27, 2014

December 27, 2014

Have you ever heard of the Declaration of Christmas Peace? It originates from Finland in the early 1300s also known as the Dark ages. The declaration is so popular that nowadays it is broadcast worldwide. Early settlers probably brought it over with them and read it with their family or friends to remind themselves of what Christmas is really about.

Tomorrow, God willing, is the graceful celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior; and thus is declared a peaceful Christmas time to all, by advising devotion and to behave otherwise quietly and peacefully,
because he who breaks this peace and violates the peace of Christmas by any illegal or improper behavior shall under aggravating circumstances be guilty and punished according to what the law and statutes prescribe for each and every offence separately.

December 24, 2014

December 24, 2014

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the Museum, everyone was stirring for this great Christmas season!  For the past four years that we’ve been hosting this Victorian Advent Blog, we’ve shared Clement C. Moore’s classic poem, a Visit From St. Nicholas, every December 24, and this year is no different.  Enjoy this holiday favourite, and have yourselves a very merry Christmas Eve.

 

 

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; the stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads, and Mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap, had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap, when out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the winder I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow, Gave the lustre of midday to objects below, when, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer, with a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, and he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name: “Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As the dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, when they meet with an obstacle mount to the sky, so up to the housetop the coursers they flew, with the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas, too!

And then, in a twinkling, I heard of the roof the prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my head, and was turning around, down the chimney came St. Nicholas with a bound.

He was all dressed in fur, and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack. His eyes – how they twinkled, his dimples – how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, and the beard on his chin was as white as the snow; the stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke of it encircled his head like a wreath; He had a broad face and a little round belly, that shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; a wink of his eye and a twist of his head, soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, and filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, and laying his finger aside of his nose, and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose; he sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, and away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

December 24, 2013

December 24, 2013

A Visit from St. Nicholas
-Clement C. Moore

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; the stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads, and Mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap, had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap, when out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the winder I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow, Gave the lustre of midday to objects below, when, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer, with a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, and he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name: “Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As the dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, when they meet with an obstacle mount to the sky, so up to the housetop the coursers they flew, with the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas, too!

And then, in a twinkling, I heard of the roof the prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my head, and was turning around, down the chimney came St. Nicholas with a bound.

He was all dressed in fur, and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack. His eyes – how they twinkled, his dimples – how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, and the beard on his chin was as white as the snow; the stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke of it encircled his head like a wreath; He had a broad face and a little round belly, that shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; a wink of his eye and a twist of his head, soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, and filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, and laying his finger aside of his nose, and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose; he sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, and away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Happy Christmas from the Oshawa Community Museum!

Happy Christmas from the Oshawa Community Museum!

December 24, 2012

December 24, 2012

We posted this one year ago today, but seeing as today is the night before Christmas, sharing this poem is only fitting.

Happy Christmas Eve to all of our readers.

 

A Visit from St. Nicholas

by Clement C. Moore

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; the stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads, and Mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap, had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap, when out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the winder I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow, Gave the lustre of midday to objects below, when, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer, with a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, and he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name: “Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As the dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, when they meet with an obstacle mount to the sky, so up to the housetop the coursers they flew, with the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas, too!

And then, in a twinkling, I heard of the roof the prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my head, and was turning around, down the chimney came St. Nicholas with a bound.

He was all dressed in fur, and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack. His eyes – how they twinkled, his dimples – how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, and the beard on his chin was as white as the snow; the stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke of it encircled his head like a wreath; He had a broad face and a little round belly, that shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; a wink of his eye and a twist of his head, soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, and filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, and laying his finger aside of his nose, and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose; he sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, and away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

December 20, 2012

December 20, 2012

Ghosts and spirits a like appear everywhere in Christmas legends. The telling of ghost stories at Christmas belongs to one old English tradition, which is shown in one of the most famous Christmas stories of all: Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Even though readers today see A Christmas Carol as a story of a miserly old man rediscovering the meaning of Christmas, Dickens also intended readers to read it as a ghost story. The full title of the story actually reads as A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas! The preface of the book continues: “I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book to raise the Ghost of an Idea which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.”

Dickens even went so far as to recommend reading the book out loud, in a cold room by candlelight. Dickens loved ghost stories so much he wrote several more over the years, including a couple more Christmas ghost stories called, “The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton,” “The Haunted Man,” “The Haunted House,” and “A Christmas Tree.”

December 10, 2012

December 10, 2012

Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol after a visit to a Ragged School. He hoped the story would raise the profile of London’s poor and generate some much needed cash for him. He finished the manuscript in 6 weeks. The entire first printing ( 6000 copies) sold out in 5 days.

Have you read this holiday classic?

December 3

December 3, 2011

From A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

But now, the plates being changed by Miss Belinda, Mrs Cratchit left the room alone — too nervous to bear witnesses — to take the pudding up and bring it in.

Suppose it should not be done enough? Suppose it should break in turning out? Suppose somebody should have got over the wall of the back-yard, and stolen it, while they were merry with the goose — a supposition at which the two young Cratchits became livid? All sorts of horrors were supposed.

Hallo! A great deal of steam! The pudding was out of the copper. A smell like a washing-day. That was the cloth. A smell like an eating-house and a pastrycook’s next door to each other, with a laundress’s next door to that. That was the pudding. In half a minute Mrs Cratchit entered — flushed, but smiling proudly — with the pudding, like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top.