A Dickens Christmas and Forgotten Carols ensure a very literary Christmas

A Dickens Christmas and Forgotten Carols ensure a very literary Christmas

Both events celebrate the history of the holiday via lesser known folk songs and A Christmas Carol

Cast your imagination back to London at the beginning of the 19th century: it’s smelly, it’s dirty, it’s smoggy, and there’s a begging urchin on every street. No wonder the world of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novel A Christmas Carol was so appealing. It promised a feel-good season of over-eating, over-drinking, candlelit feasts, massive family gatherings, and general shenanigans of the festive sort. This slim novel helped to kick-start the Victorian revival of Christmas as a holiday – before that era, Christmas was barely celebrated, and most businesses did not consider it a holiday at all. Within a few decades we had the brand new traditions of decorating a tree, exchanging cards, pulling crackers, sweet mince pies (as opposed to ones containing meat), and feasting on a ridiculously large turkey.

Whether you want to get yourself in the proper festive spirit, or you’re just curious about how Dickens helped to create Christmas as we know it, Edinburgh Castle has got the goods this December.

And to celebrate another classic Christmas tradition, the Scottish Storytelling Centre is offering Forgotten Carols, which promises an immersive and instructive evening of performance. Songwriter Ali Burns has been researching folk carols for over a decade, and she’ll present her finest discoveries with poet Tom Pow and soloist Kate Howard. Sit back and enjoy, or prepare your finest singing voice to join in.

Dickens Christmas, Edinburgh Castle, Sat 21 Dec–Tue 24 Dec. Forgotten Carols, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Sun 15 Dec.

Forgotten Carols Workshop

A day for exploration of Britain's rich legacy of folk songs and carols, open to everyone, whether you read music or not. Come along, sing the songs, and hear about the history.

A Dickens Christmas

Charles Dickens' 1843 A Christmas Carol spearheaded the Victorian revival of Christmas as a holiday, and this event lets you see how Dickens drew on multiple traditions to create the modern notion of Christmas as a time of get-togethers, overeating, choral music and the general having of a good time.

Forgotten Carols

After a decade-long search, Ali Burns presents Britain's lost Christmas carols, with help from reader Tom Pow and SongTribe.

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