I Read “A Christmas Carol” to My Daughter Every Year, and Now I’ve Recorded It!
This week I want to share a really nice personal tradition with you, one that I shared last year. I’m not answering anyone’s question here, but just going off on a tangent because you all have been asking about books and reading out loud lately, and I realized that I’ve never shared this with anyone outside of my immediate family.
While my daughter is a rabid movie watcher (she wasn’t allowed to watch anything for years and years, so now she’s catching up) and loves when we watch a movie together in the evening on vacation, I have been able to balance this by introducing what has become a really lovely tradition: reading A Christmas Carol out loud over five nights, one night for each chapter.
While you may think you know the story, all about Scrooge and Tiny Tim, every time I read it I am surprised and reminded by the humor and power of Ebenezer Scrooge’s transformation from his youth into a miserly, unhappy person and then into a happy, redeemed one. The story is very DARK at times, with stunning detail of what life in Victorian London must have been like, and the end is so full of light and joy that you positively feel it coursing around the room as you read the final scene.
Charles Dickens wrote “A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas” in 1843 and it quickly sold out. Over time it has never been out of print and remains the most popular story that he ever wrote. Consisting of only five chapters or “staves,” it is far shorter than his big, long novels and deals so powerfully with the treatment of the poor at the time and the ability of a selfish man to redeem himself that it drew a following that has never abated. In fact, I believe there is YET ANOTHER film version that has just come out this month.
I want to invite you all to give it a try this holiday season (start today and you’ll end perfectly on Saturday, Christmas Day) and let me know how it goes. If you don’t have a copy, you can download a free version here (it’s no longer within copyright). Special bonus: I’m going to do something I’ve long wanted to do and record myself reading it aloud to share with any of you who enjoy a more audio book version. Enjoy!
- STAVE ONE – Marley’s Ghost: first half, 17 min
- STAVE ONE – Marley’s Ghost: second half, 30 min
- STAVE TWO – The Ghost of Christmas Past, first half, 17 min
- STAVE TWO – The Ghost of Christmas Past, second half, 30 min
- STAVE THREE – The Ghost of Christmas Present, first half, 24 min
- STAVE THREE – The Ghost of Christmas Present, second half, 32 min
- STAVE FOUR – The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, 35 min
- STAVE FIVE – The End of It, 15 min
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Maxwell Ryan is a father and was an elementary school teacher in NYC before founding Apartment Therapy. He’d love to answer your question: firstname.lastname@example.org. This piece was created for Cubby, our weekly newsletter for families at home. Want more? Sign up here for a weekly splash of fun and good ideas for families with kids.
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