To a Christmas as full as Mr Fezziwig’s waistcoat!

If the dog has trailed the Christmas tree into the garden overnight, and you’ve numbly shovelled the box of Godiva into your gob for breakfast, oblivious to the subtleties of Raspberry Ganache or Almond Praline, and the oven that will feature so prominently in the week’s festivities went on fire last night when you were melting cheese on toast, and the gadgets that you smugly bought and wrapped all the way back in September have since been marked down 75%, and your remark at the office party that you haven’t had time to read a book since 1993 has depressed you all week, stop sobbing into your mulled wine (which is actually just lukewarm leftover Merlot without the bits in) because I have what you need. Feast your eyeballs on this bounty and the spirit of Christmas will descend upon your wretched head (didn’t have time to get your roots done either, I see, n’er mind).

The sumptuous drawings by John Leech to accompany the 1843 first edition of A Christmas Carol, or as it was jauntily entitled then:

A Christmas Carol

In Prose


A Ghost Story of Christmas


Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!


Whether these creatures faded into mist, or mist enshrouded them, he could not tell. But they and their spirit voices faded together; and the night became as it had been when he walked home.

I just love Mr Fezziwig

“Hilli-ho!” cried old Fezziwig, skipping down from the high desk, with wonderful agility. “Clear away, my lads, and let’s have lots of room here! Hilli-ho, Dick! Chirrup, Ebenezer!”


The Spirit dropped beneath it, so that the extinguisher covered its whole form; but though Scrooge pressed it down with all his force, he could not hide the light: which streamed from under it, in an unbroken flood upon the ground.


Holly, mistletoe, red berries, ivy, turkeys, geese, game, poultry, brawn, meat, pigs, sausages, oysters, pies, puddings, fruit, and punch, all vanished instantly.


They were a boy and girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds.


“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.”


He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!


Yes, your spirit may be weary and faded since years past, your wits frazzled, your relatives dog-eared (don’t tell them I said that), your finances threadbare, and your Christmas tree a bit ragged around the edges, but I hope your Christmas will be as uniquely precious and the memories as collectible as this original cover.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

My novel, not yet a classic, but really quite good, is available. You can buy Silk for the Feed Dogs here.


  1. Beautiful. Glorious. God bless us – everyone….

  2. Merry Christmas to you too! (^-^) xxx

  3. Lovely — these are the etchings I remember. Thank You.

  4. Getting me right in the mood for Xmas, have a great one!

  5. Beautiful! I just watched A Christmas Carol and it’s a story that never fades, does it? What a thoughtful (and funny!) post.

  6. Thanks, Jackie, now I have tears in my eyes just as I am about to board a plane from Zambia.

    A Christmas Carol defines the spirit of Christmas better than any other story. Now, if you will excuse me, I need to catch that flight to enjoy a few spirits of my own 🙂

    May you and ayour family have a Merry Christmas.

  7. Merry Christmas to you and yours! Off to see a one man rendition of A Christmas Carol in an old church this eve so your post got me in the mood nicely!

  8. This memorable and novel gift has been received with great appreciation and enjoyment – thank you and many happy returns.

  9. Merry, Merry Christmas to you this year! I’m going to finish your ‘Silk For The Feed Dogs’ while traveling to see my new granddaughter this week – My husband will be doing the driving! Finally a little bit of time to read. Yay!

    • Merry Christmas to you too, Elle! I will begin the new year by reading your novel which has been sitting on my computer for a while because I haven’t had any reading time 😦 Must. Fix. That. xo

  10. My parents used to have a house in the same street as Dickens lived..we always wanted to open the doors and threaten the tourists with our own version a Christmas Carol! Stunning etchings! xxx

  11. Lovely! I’ve never actually read the story (shame, I know) but that was an excellent little summary. So many things do tend to go wrong just before Christmas! I hope yours goes well though, Merry Christmas Jackie!

  12. Love those illustrations! Thanks for sharing, Jackie, and have a joyous Christmas!

  13. I ran across your blog site on google and appearance a few of your own early posts. Continue to keep up the very good run. I just additional up your Rss to my MSN Information Reader. In search of forward to looking at more by you later on!

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