What exactly is this thing that we call “the Spirit of
Christmas”? We’ve all heard of it, and most people certainly try to get into
the Spirit of Christmas (or the Christmas Spirit) as we head into Christmas. We
know that Scrooge knew how to keep Christmas all the year round, which is
presumably the Spirit of Christmas, but what exactly is it that he kept?
G.K Chesterton tried to define the Spirit of Christmas in
his book, The Thing: Why I am a Catholic, but found it was easier to describe how people
falsely try to create the Spirit of Christmas by keeping the externals while
ignoring the essentials.
I have rather rashly undertaken to write of the Spirit of
Christmas; and it presents a preliminary difficulty about which I must be
candid. People are very curious nowadays in their way of talking about “the
spirit” of a thing. There is, for example, a particular sort of prig who is
always lecturing us about the spirit of true Christianity, apart from all names