Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Christmas Carol

The Christian season of Advent starts tomorrow. Advent, or the four Sundays between Thanksgiving and Christmas, is celebrated in many ways by Christians in different cultures around the world. In some European countries, they use an Advent wreath. An Advent wreath usually consists of greenery and four candles, one for each of the Sundays. Each Sunday night the family gathers together, lights the appropriate number of candles, and sings carols or tells stories about Christmas. This time is often used to teach about the Second Coming of Christ as well as his birth over two thousand years ago.

In our family, we celebrate Advent a little differently. Each Sunday between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we gather together in front of the television and watch a different version of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, while eating popcorn and oranges and drinking hot chocolate. We watch them in a certain order every year. It’s part of the tradition. The first week, we watch a funny little Dutch animated version we have on VHS in which Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, looks just like a cartoon monkey. Then, right after it’s finished, we put on the George C. Scott version. We have to get an early start because we double up the first week. The second week, we watch The Muppet Christmas Carol, and then sing “We’re Marley and Marley” in our heads for days. The third week, we watch the Patrick Stewart version, but the kids insist we call it the Patrick Henry version for some strange reason. On the last Sunday before Christmas, we watch the musical, Scrooge, starring Albert Finney. Then we all sing “Thank You Very Much” and “Father Christmas” in our heads for days.

Some years we get tickets for the Hale Center Theater production and see it on December twenty-third also, the last night they perform it. They do a really good job. We should know; we’re kind of experts. We’ve been doing this since the kids were little. We pretty much have A Christmas Carol memorized. If we each took a couple of parts, I’m sure our family could manage to pull off our own production on the spot without too much difficulty.

So Advent starts tomorrow. I’d better check the popcorn and hot chocolate supply and go out and buy some oranges. Enjoy the season with your family in whatever way you choose, and if you want to borrow a movie, come on over! Merry Christmas to all, and, in the words of Tiny Tim, “God bless us, everyone!”


  1. I made crepes this morning with a crepe maker you gave me for my wedding, so I thought of you. We also went and saw the new Christmas Carol in 3D, the one with Jim Carrey. It was interesting, worth watching once.

  2. Marion's all time favorite movie is the Albert Finney version. I once lost a bet with him over that "Thank You Very Much" song. We went to the Hale this year on the 23rd, too. First time for many much fun.