SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION: From A Christmas Carol to Mr. Dickens and His Carol

It's the beginning of a new month which means it's time to play Six Degrees of Separation. This meme is hosted by Kate of Books Are My Favourite and Best. The aim is to link six books to each other from the starting point.

This month the starting point is another book I've read a number of times and which remains one of my Christmas favourites, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

So where to from here? Do I go the easy route and stick with the Christmas theme or tax my brain a little to come up with other links? I've tried to do both.

A Christmas Carol is a novella. This links to one that I've recently read. It is also set in Victorian England during

Christmas but very much lighter in tone than Dickens' story, although both have a happy ending.

A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Matthews is a yuletide romance. Edward Sharpe, a wealthy merchant, has been given an ultimatum by Sophie Appersett, the lady he is courting. To resurrect their failing relationship, he must spend Christmas at her country home with family and friends and be honest about his feelings. Hopefully, at the end of the festivities, they will like each other enough to marry. There are a few obstacles to overcome but Christmas works its magic, helped along by a handy sprig of mistletoe. Eventually, love conquers all!

Love is one of the links to a short story I first read in high school, The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry, an American writer. This is a sentimental story which also contains a moral about gift-giving. A husband and wife, with no money to buy each other Christmas presents, sacrifice their most treasured possessions to do so.

The ending is considered to be an example of comic irony, but back in my impressionable teenage years I didn't see the funny side and thought it very sad.

Another short story writer studied in high school was Henry Lawson. Lawson is considered Australia's greatest short story writer.

Taken from a collection of his stories, published as The Romance of the Swag, is the humourous short story The Ghosts of Many Christmases. As the title suggests and with a nod to Dickens whose books Lawson avidly read, it is a remembrance of past Christmases which are very different to the traditional English Christmas.

Many novels feature Christmas scenes. One of my favourite classics, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, opens on Christmas Eve with Jo March lamenting that "Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents".

With their father away due to the American Civil War and money scarce, Christmas does look bleak for the family. Those who have read this novel, however, know that there are Christmas presents with one from an unexpected source.

Another classic with a Christmas scene is Emma by Jane Austen.

At a gathering of neighbours and friends at the Weston's home for Christmas Eve dinner, matchmaking Emma Woodhouse is shocked by the realisation she could have misconstrued certain events.

While the evening passes pleasantly enough, false accusations and a marriage proposal ensure it does not end happily for Emma.

My final book is one that I've used in a previous Six Degrees of Separation post. I couldn't help but use it again this time given the Christmas theme.

Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva takes a lighthearted look at the events surrounding the writing of Dickens' Christmas novella.

This book nicely links back to the starting point and concludes my post for this month.

Next month's Six Degrees of Separation will begin with The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles.


  1. The Christmas scene in Little Women is one of my very favourite Christmas scenes (although the hair-cutting tops it in Little Women terms!).

    1. The Christmas scene is a great opening. Yes, the hair cutting is also memorable.

  2. Great links - Little Women is one of my favourites too. I also decided to stick with a Christmas theme for my chain and was surprised to discover how many Christmassy books I had read!

    1. I also hadn't realised how many Christmassy books I've read or how many books contain Christmas scenes

  3. You accomplished it with your linking of six books with a Christmas theme. Well done.

    1. Thank you, Terra. The Christmas theme was the easiest to follow!