Built upon a dismal reef of sunken rocks, some leagues or so from shore, on which the waters chafed and dashed the wild year through, there stood a solitary lighthouse. Great heaps of sea-weed clung to its base, and storm-birds -- born of the wind one might suppose, as sea-weed from the water -- rose and fell about it, like the waves they skimmed.
But even here, two men who watched the light had made a fire, that through the loophole in the thick stone wall shed out a ray of brightness over the awful sea. Joining their horny hands over the rough table at which they sat, they wished each other Merry Christmas in their can of grog; and one of them -- the elder, too, with his face all damaged and scarred with hard weather, as the figure-head of an old ship might be -- struck up a sturdy song that was like a gale in itself.
- Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol, Stave 3)
Charles Dickens (1812-1870) began writing his "Little Carol" in October 1843 and finished it by the end of November in time to be published for the Christmas trade in an edition with illustrations by John Leech. In the 10th installment of The Pickwick Papers (1836), Dickens had included a Christmas tale whose protagonist was the grave-digger Gabriel Grub, who became the prototype for Ebenezer Scrooge. Also, in the same month he began the story, Dickens had been invited to speak in Manchester and stayed there at the home of his older sister, Fan, one of whose sons was a frail cripple and apparently the model for Tiny Tim. A Christmas Carol is, in fact, the first and best of five novellas, known collectively as The Christmas Books, which share a common theme.
Taken from Ed's Quotation of the day, only available via email: these three (this is the first) Christmas quotations are a long QOTD tradition. If you'd like to be added to the list, please leave your email address in the comment section.