Jump directly to the Content

I'm Dreaming of a Victorian Christmas

A particular Christmas, or to be more exact, two Christmases, entered the modern imagination in 1868 through a much-beloved storybook, coloring our vision of Christmas ever since.

The first of these Christmases takes place under the shadow of war—the Civil War. A few days before the holiday, the four young daughters of an absent army chaplain mope together in the home that now seems so empty. They ruefully consider their holiday prospects: their "straightened circumstances" have reduced the customary Christmas bounty to a mere dollar apiece, doled out by their mother.

At first, each broods over her meager treasures, planning self-indulgent purchases. But in the end, they spend the money on gifts for their mother.

Each girl has evident talents but also evident weaknesses. The oldest is a motherly sort, perhaps grown up too soon, who works as a governess. Next is the tomboy, an aspiring author (transparently, the book's author) and the family instigator, always writing and staging melodramas ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

July/August
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Book Review: "Clouds of Witnesses"
Book Review: "Clouds of Witnesses"
Biographies of Asian and African Christians give valuable perspective.
From the Magazine
Disasters Are Not God’s Punishments. But They Can Judge Us.
Disasters Are Not God’s Punishments. But They Can Judge Us.
Both 18th-century earthquakes and 21st-century pandemics upend optimism and fatalism.
Editor's Pick
When Churches Put Love at the Center
When Churches Put Love at the Center
How "beloved community" helps us envision tangible ways to embody kingdom values.
close