Every year we librarians are beseiged by the public demanding to know how they, too, can celebrate Christmas just like Charles Dickens.
After exhaustive research and a great deal of experimentation, we have established the 12 steps of a Dickensian Christmas. This program will shortly be endorsed by the American Library Association Live Life Like a Book Subcommittee of the Overarching Retreat from Reality Committee of the True Book Lovers Division.
1. Get yourself a prize goose.
It cooks like a turkey, but you’ll get about 4 cups of goose grease out of it. Use that to lubricate your carriage wheels. Or keep it next to the bed.
2. Plum pudding. Apparently it takes a huge amount of brandy to really soak the pudding, but you’ll warm yourself with the blue glow of the flames. Which is a very flattering light for an older gentleman like yourself.
3. Mincemeat. Someone will sell it to you—stick it in a pie. Serve it to your in-laws. Also, roast some chestnuts. They can be shared with a pretty virgin.
4. Mistletoe. Hang it in a convenient spot. Don’t let the cat eat any. If there are any pretty young virgins around the house, trap them under it while your host is serving the plum pudding.
Ellen Ternan (virgin)
5. Games. Charades. Cards. Nothing with a “controller” or internet connection. Games in which you can partner with a pretty virgin are the best games. If you can go off and hide in a convenient closet among the coats, remember to whisper your entreaties.
6. Plays. You can put on your own play with your friends. Use a traditional story. No Tom Stoppard. If you can, bring along a production of the “Frozen Deep” and pretend you are Charles Dickens meeting up with Ellen Ternan for the first time.
7. Children. You must have a lot of small sweet children around you. They must be slightly stupid, because your gifts will consist entirely of nuts and candy. If the local orphanage won’t rent you any of their stock, you might dig up some relatives to spend the holidays with. Talk a pretty virgin into sitting and cracking nuts with you—for the little darlings.
8. Carols. Invest in some sheet music and go out with your friends to sing to the neighbors. You may go armed or carry lanterns. No boomboxes. If you wish to add to the atmosphere by wearing bonnets and top-hats, please do. Show off your singing voice to the pretty virgin. Keep her shawl wrapped tightly. Offer her hot chestnuts from your pockets.
9. Church. Attend at Midnight on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. Remember to put some folding cash in the collection basket. This is not a time to think about income tax deductions. Pretty virgins are generally vague about income tax deductions.London Churches
10. Charity. Give until you hurt. Help the poor, the sick, and the hungry. This is not the time to give to the local Opera Society or adding a wing to the library. If you are unfamiliar with charities that serve the poor, the sick, and the hungry, ask a priest or pastor. Pretty virgins are deeply impressed by charity.
Mrs. Dickens--Before 12 Children.
11. Punch. It is served hot and contains hard liquor or wine. Mix in lemons and cinnamon. Keep quantities available in the front parlor. Pretty virgins are usually quite fond of punch and can be easily handled after three or four cups of it.try to keep your wig straight
12. Ghost stories. Expand your knowledge of this vast English storehouse of ghostlore. You can re-tell anything to the youngsters of today. And then send them up to bed with only a candle for lighting. Spend a few hours howling and shaking furniture in the middle of the night. Try calming the nerves of a pretty virgin who thinks that her bedroom is haunted—your bed has plenty of room.
God Bless Us, Every One!