19 December: “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens was published on this day in 1843

This book was written by Charles Dickens in just a few weeks and soon became synonymous with Christmas. To the point that when the author died in 1870, a little girl asked if that meant Father Christmas had also died. A question of transitive property, which is exactly what the author hoped to inspire by telling the story of Mr Scrooge the miser, who had to take a journey through time with three Christmas spirits (the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come) in order to understand that it was time for him to turn over a new leaf…

If one reads between the lines, the moral of this story is that we ought to keep our Christmas spirit (i.e. kindness and good resolutions) well beyond the holiday period. The big question, though, is whether we can work at overcoming our capital vices or whether these are part of our primitive cerebral cortex (i.e. where our primal impulses reside), which neuroscientist Donald MacLean defined as “the lizard brain” in the 1970s.

There are twelve days of Christmas and a whole year to test this, and cash in… so let’s start now.

Name Day
St Urban V, Pope