Dickens Started The Christmas Frenzy

Clive Irving asks: ‘When did Christmas become a consumer binge machine? Much of the blame for initiating this is often given to Charles Dickens, mostly on the basis of one voluptuous paragraph from his magical moral fable A Christmas Carol: “The poulterers’ shops were still half open, and fruiterers’ were radiant in their glory. There were great, round, pot-bellied baskets of chestnuts… There were ruddy, brown-faced, broad-girthed Spanish onions…There were pears and apples…there were bunches of grapes…piles of filberts…there were Norfolk pippins…The Grocers’! Oh the Grocers’!…the blended scents of tea and coffee…the raisins were so plentiful and rare, the almonds so extremely white, the sticks of cinnamon…the other spices so delicious, the candied fruits so caked and spotted with molten sugar…the figs were moist and pulpy…the French plums blushed with modest tartness…everything was good to eat and in its Christmas dress…”

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