We've been reading Dickens' A Christmas Carol for the past week. My children were already somewhat familiar with the story, but there is NOTHING like reading the original. My daughter and I were remarking that Dickens paints such a beautiful picture with words to set the stage before he even gets into the meat of the story. Reading A Christmas Carol aloud is a bit addictive actually.
We've been inspired to find out more about Charles Dickens... most people overlook the fact that he was a devout Christian. His beautiful story has been commercialized and changed sometimes beyond the point of recognition. While the original story is difficult for young children to understand, I do believe after you start reading it (and with explanation as you go along) they will crave listening. Mine do.
Saturday evening a good friend and I decided to give the dads some time to themselves to watch football. (We talk so much about dads taking the kids so we can have a little break, but do we ever do this for our husbands?) I had heard about a live Dickens Village put on by a church in our area. I had NO IDEA what we were about to experience, or what an impression it would make on my children!
Everything was authentic. When we arrived the constable was showing my son where to go for the hot chocolate:
The kids made candles in the candle making shop,
and had cookies from the baker's shop.
We visited horses in the livery,
and chatted with a real live chimney sweep. He told the children they could come work with him if they were as high as his broom. He said he would tie a rope around their ankle and lower them into the chimney. He also said that rope only broke twice last year!
We also saw a living nativity, a production of A Christmas Carol, a huge Dickens' train display, and so many other things. I couldn't have asked for a better tie in to our read-aloud, or for a better Christmas outing.
Have you ever seen anything like this before? (I get chills watching the video I've embedded) I was just so impressed and happy it was so close to where we live... we all said we'd like to make this a tradition each year.
Dickens Village 2011 from Heritage Christian Church on Vimeo.