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A Tiny Dickens Christmas....the Story behind the Story.

A Dickens Christmas

Gad’s Hill Place, England 1863

by Dame May Burnett and Sir Darren Scala

It’s Christmas and the Dickens household is in final preparations for the holiday. The parlor is adorned with garlands, swags and the floor-to-ceiling evergreen has been decorated with ribbons, golden orbs and topped with a cherub angel. Gifts have been meticulously wrapped under the tree with festive name cards. “Happy Christmas, Oliver,” “Yuletide Blessings, Tim,” “Christmas Greetings, David,” and “For the New Year, Nicholas” are just a few. A floral arrangement dresses the table near the hearth, which is laden with traditional Victorian sweets, cakes and a decorated gingerbread house ready to be devoured.

On the desk in the upstairs study there is a feeling of mystery and secrets and we find selected pages of Mr. Dickens’ latest novel; these pages tell a story that differs from past accounts of hardship, poverty and strife, representing “Christmas Past.” These pages tell us about some of Dickens most troubled and stricken characters but shows them in a new light. This completed new novel represents “Christmas Present.” The bookshelf in the study opens to reveal a secret room serving as a gallery for “Christmas Future.” The gallery displays 4 portraits, each depicting the future adult lives of some of the children from Mr. Dickens earlier novels.

First is the portrait of Oliver Twist, now the head of England’s leading children’s advocacy fund. Next, we find the painting of David Copperfield, Britain’s leading journalist who reports on the health and education of immigrant children. Third is Nicholas Nickelby, now a leading figure in the fight for women’s rights and equality and finally we find Dickens most cherished character, Tiny Tim. This portrait shows Dr. Timothy Cratchit, founder of the European Society for Pediatric and Childhood Illness.

As we leave the gallery and step back, we feel the power of Christmas: a time of joy, a time of family and friends, a time of reflection and a look into the future.

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