One might like Christmas, or one might not; one might be a Christian, or one might not be. Anyway I do not think anybody would be arguing against the fact that this novella became practically ultimate Christmas story. For this reason I will not bother hiding spoilers in my review; if you have no clue what it is about and I spoil it for you, consider it to be my punishment for living under a rock all this time.
Sorry, there is something irresistible about the Grumpy Cat in Christmas settings and this time the guy strongly reminds me of Scrooge in the beginning of the book.
The main character of the story is a miser called Ebenezer Scrooge. His last name practically became a dictionary word for a miser, so one can easily see the influence of Dickens' tale on the world culture. Anyhow, the guy is visited by a ghost of his former partner who heralded the upcoming visit of three ghosts: the ones of Christmas past, present, and future. As a result of these visits Scrooge realized the mistakes of his way and changes for the better. Amen.
The only reason I wrote completely unnecessary last paragraph in my review is the smooth transition to the discussion of the ghosts. For me the ghost of Christmas past was mostly about nostalgia for time gone. Anybody, no matter how good and kind-hearted a person is, he or she would have some regrets about the past; people that have no such regrets really scare me and are not good people in my book: to err is human after all.
My biggest gripe with the book and the one which reduced the rating by one star came from this part as well. Scrooge became regretful right after he saw his past. This was a little sudden and too fast to be really convincing. According to the book he decided to change his ways right here with the other two ghosts only solidifying his decision. Countless adaptations and retelling handled this better by delaying Scrooge's regret at least until he saw the present.
There is nothing much to say about the ghost of Christmas present except that I was not moved much by Bob Cratchit's family Christmas celebration, but this could be explained by the differences between the views of a Victorian person and a modern one. The other of the people celebrating the holiday as seen by Scrooge were heartwarming though.
I always though the scariest part about the future was not the death itself, but the fact that one dies and nobody
cares - in good sense. I had the impression that this was the scariest part about dying in the story for Scrooge as well.
So what about writing style, character development, etc.? This is Charles Dickens we are talking about here; the guy is called a classic of world literature for a good reason. He can be a little long-winded in some of the descriptions even in such a short story as this, but thanks to them he managed to convey a perfect spirit of Christmas and the festivities.
Speaking about Christmas in general I think it stopped being just a religious holiday a long time ago and became just a great holiday for the majority of people and as such is a part of our culture. Even in Dickens' book written around one hundred and fifty years ago the religious themes were not explicitly present. For this reason people that stop others from celebrating because of religious reasons or increasingly popular fear of 'offending somebody' reject our culture, simple as that. Rant off.