Boggs Unleashed

A Dickens Christmas

Victorian holiday celebrations in the author’s 200th birthday year.


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Bah, humbug.

The high sheriffs of this rag twisted my arm to write about Victorian Christmas celebrations out West.

I’m no Scrooge, but I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where we celebrate Christmas with the Mexican tradition of Las Posadas and then stroll from bonfire to bonfire, freezing our butts off on Canyon Road.

Sure, the Cowtown Palace in San Francisco throws a fun Great Dickens Christmas Fair, but Victorian tea and London bobbies? Hey, I like beefeaters, just preferably in a gin and tonic. 

Yet since 2012 marks Charles Dickens’s 200th birthday, and I need this paycheck for my own holiday shopping, I have conceded. Besides, I know Dickens came to the West. I remember that episode of Bonanza

St. Louis, if ever America had a Dickensian city, decks the halls at the Tower Grove House, the Victorian home of Henry Shaw, who founded the Missouri Botanical Gardens. This year’s festivities take place from November 21 to December 30 and include storytelling on Saturdays and children’s events.

I bet there’s Dickens-bashing too. After all, Dickens visited St. Louis in 1842 and questioned the “unhealthiness of the place” in his American Notes, noting that St. Louis is “very hot, lies among great rivers, and has vast tracts of undrained swampy land around it....”

Just over...

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