Scrooge buys a turkey and has it delivered anonymously to the Cratchits.
(Illustration from A Christmas Carol,
as published in my hometown newspaper on December 25, 1940.)
My hometown newspaper ran Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol every year, on or before Christmas, from 1940 through 1957. Here’s an image from the 1940 edition:
A Christmas Carol is a short book, and can easily fit onto six broadsheet pages, though it was spread over more, depending on the size and number of ads the paper was able to sell for the special section.
Another annual event, from 1934 through 1953 was Lionel Barrymore‘s half-hour radio version of A Christmas Carol, which I recall hearing at least once. Barrymore (1878-1954) was supposed to play Ebenezer Scrooge in the 1938 film version of the book (my favorite version of the many that have been made), but severe arthritis and a broken hip precluded that.
Barrymore later essayed the role of Mr. Potter in the Christmas-time classic, It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). The Wikipedia article about Barrymore says, accurately, that “the role suggested that of the ‘unreformed’ stage of Barrymore’s ‘Scrooge’ characterization.”
I can dredge up many other wonderful bits of nostalgia about Christmas, but I’ll stop with this one:
We often visited my grandmother at Christmas, and I like to relive the Christmas eve when we made the 90-mile trip as feathery snow slowly piled deeper on the deserted, lakeside highway we traversed through quiet villages: Lexington, Port Sanilac, Forester, Richmondville, Forestville, White Rock, Harbor Beach, Port Hope, Huron City, and — at last — Port Austin.
Snow at Christmas… It has been more than 16 years since I saw more than a dusting of snow on the ground (and then only twice). Snow at Christmas is only thing I miss about living in the North, but I don’t miss it enough to go back.