Commercialization of Christmas and ‘A Christmas Carol’

It’s no secret that Christmas is a hugely commercialized holiday–more and more, the buzz surrounding Christmas focuses on the economical, with advertising to convince people what items they should buy for their loved ones. But where exactly does this come from, and how has the capitalist nature of Christmas developed over time? Well, Charles Dickens, sometimes called “the man who invented Christmas,” could be partially to blame.

As we well know, Dickens’ serialized publications were accompanied by a slew of advertising for different products, and his Christmas stories were no exception to this rule. This is remarkably similar, and is perhaps a precursor, to modern Christmas advertising that caters to people who are “in the Christmas spirit” or seeking ideas for Christmas presents.

However, perhaps the most interesting aspect of this is that Dickens’ most famous Christmas story, A Christmas Carol, has become one of the most commercialized things in our modern Holiday. Dozens of television, film, stage, and musical adaptations of the story have been made, and terms like “Scrooge” are a part of our modern day canon. This is especially interesting considering how little Ebenezer Scrooge (up until the end of the novel) cares about Christmas and would have therefore disliked its commercialization. But would Dickens’ appreciate the commercialization of Christmas in relation to his own work? It’s hard to know for sure, but seems likely that he would find this–and the commercialization of Christmas in general–to be desirable (and very smart financially), considering how much he commercialized his own works.


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