One of my all time favorite Christmas tales is A Christmas Carol. This year (2015) I will be writing Cross Sections of the 3 ghosts and of Jacob Marley. I am saving Jacob for last so it coincides closer to Christmas Eve. I love pieces like A Christmas Carol because they prove and illustrate that ghosts are just as hard at work during Christmas as they are during Halloween. Even olde St. Nick is a type of a ghost himself in a lot of ways. So let’s take a brief detour this holiday season from Zombies and Monsters and explore the paranormal side of Christmas.
As Dickens wrote Scrooge retired to his bed chamber on Christmas Eve rattled by a chance encounter with his former partner and friend Jacob Marley (who had been dead 7 years that night). Enter the Ghost of Christmas Past. While in the original novel this ghost took on many forms and shifted in appearance often, in film the Ghost is often portrayed as an old man or woman. Christmas Past escorts Scrooge through his childhood and key moments in his adult life. The task Christmas Past is not to simply show Scrooge past moments in life but to remind Scrooge that there was a time when he was vulnerable, naïve and very human. Whether sitting along in a classroom while all of his friends had gone home to celebrate the holidays or falling in love. That Scrooge had very human moments especially around Christmas time.
The Ghost of Christmas Past also represents missed opportunities and regret one can have in life. That immediate or rash choices in life can have a very long term effect. There were many times in Scrooge’s life where he could have shown more compassion or done things differently. Especially in his adult life. We must not forget the choices we made in the past or events we experienced if we are to maintain a healthy and happy present.
In the musical version titled Scrooge, Christmas Past is depicted as an old woman that could very well be a mother like figure nurturing as well as guiding Scrooge throughout his past life. In am attempt to peel away the layers of bitterness, remorse and misplaced anger like so many layers of wallpaper covering the walls of a neglected home.
But probably the most intricate and best depiction of The Ghost of Christmas Past is in the Muppet Christmas Carol. This time the ghost is in the form of a child dancing in mid air like leaves falling from the tallest of trees. Scrooge eventually has enough and can’t stand to relive his mistakes in life or the reminder of the good things he had but let slip away.
But the night is young and there are still more ghosts waiting to dust the cobwebs off of poor Scrooge’s soul.
Next: The Ghost of Christmas Present
2015-12-20 ~Randy Fortunato