While it might seem a long way off, Christmas will come around again. This year the 25th of December falls on a Tuesday, so corporate Christmas events and parties can be held right up until the last Friday prior, on the 21st of December.
The year 2012 coincides with the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens, born on 7 February, 1812 who is considered to have had more influence on the way we celebrate Christmas than any other individual.
At the beginning of the Victorian period, the medieval Christmas celebrations, combining Roman pagan festivities and the Germanic winter festival of Yule, had come under intense scrutiny by the Puritans. The industrial revolution left little time for workers to celebrate. Christmas was in a decline! Then Prince Albert brought the German tradition of decorating the Christmas tree to our shores and the first Christmas card appeared in the 1840’s. Carol singing was revived, but it was Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol”, published in 1843, that rekindled the joy of Christmas in Britain and America.
The town of Rochester has held an annual Dickensian Christmas since 1988, with lamp-lit parades, Victorian delights, carols, guaranteed snowfall and familiar, fabled characters from Dickens’s much-loved stories wandering the streets.
It is a very British year, with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the London 2012 Olympics and the Dickens bicentennial. Green’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar is a British icon in the City and the West End and a perfect venue for celebrating Christmas.
This year, when so many are worse off than before, it would be especially fitting to honour Dickens’s description of Christmas as being “a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of other people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”