In 1843 with his fifth child on the way, Dickens was short of money and hit upon the idea of writing a short Christmas novel as a quick way to increase his bank account and wrote the book in only six weeks. Because he lavished care on it, even insisting on hand-colored plates, it brought in only a fraction of the profit he had hoped.
Appearing on December 19, 1843, it was an instant success, going through many re-printings in the following months, and has never been out of print. The Carol has been described as “the most perfect work Dickens ever wrote.” Ebeneezer Scrooge is far and away Dickens’s best-known character, even among people who have never read Dickens.
There are some over-enthusiastic fans who say that Dickens invented Christmas. The fact is that among the upper classes the celebration of Christmas had been muted since the Puritans’ war on Christmas during their rule, 1642-1660. What Dickens did was to make Christmas celebrations respectable again and restore the joy and warmth of the season.