Friday, December 11, 2009

Bah! Humbug!

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all year.
Charles Dickens

With Christmas fast approaching and little money to spend, the feeling of "Bah! Humbug!" came over me.  My inquisitive mind started spinning the wheels.  What did "Bah! Humbug" even mean?

Although this phrase in only found twice in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, it is the one of the most famous quotes of the main character, Ebenezer Scrooge.  Elizabeth Gregory states:
    Ebenezer Scrooge is a bad-tempered miser who values only money, and the story begins on the seventh anniversary of the death of his like-minded business partner, Jacob Marley. It is Christmas Eve, although this matters little to Scrooge, who sees Christmas as “a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer” (chapter one), and thus coins his now famous expression “’Bah! Humbug!’”
But what does it actually mean?  According to Wikipedia, humbug means "hoax or jest." states that bah means interjection, and thus Bah Humbug is an exclamation of contempt or annoyance.  In a Christmas Carol, Scrooge's nephew cried in a cheerful voice, "A merry Christmas, uncle!  God save you."  In response, Scrooge says "Bah! Humbug!" 

Ebenezer Scrooge is a penny-pinching miser in the first degree. He cares nothing for the people around him and mankind exists only for the money that can be made through exploitation and intimidation. He particularly detests Christmas... (David Perdue's Charles Dickens Page)  To convey his feelings about Christmas, he says "Bah! Humbug!", exclaiming his strong annoyance.

Luckily, the three spirits of Christmas help Scrooge see the error in his ways and he is transformed! 
    So when Dickens concludes that Scrooge "knew how to keep Christmas well" ... Ebenezer Scrooge kept Christmas well by becoming "as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world."
Well, I didn't feel Bah! Humbug! after all!  And I was amazed at how many sites reference and analyze Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol".  I found it very interesting, especially the social impact that the book had when Dickens wrote it, and the reasons why he wrote it.  I encourage you to check it out - Google "A Christmas Carol".


Here is a cookie recipe that is a Christmas family tradition.  When I was young, my siblings and I were in charge of decorating the cookies, and the fun we had!  My sisters have passed on this tradition to their children, with my mom helping, of course!

Christmas Cream Cheese Cookies

4 oz. cream cheese
1-1/2 cups margarine
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
Colored sugar &/or candy sprinkles

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Blend cream cheese and margarine together.  Add sugar and vanilla a little at a time, and beat well.  Add flour slowly to mixture, and beat well.  Use a cookie press to make your choice of shapes, and sprinkle with colored sugar or candy sprinkles.  Bake 8-10 minutes.

Aunt Janet's Famous Sayings

I have acquired a touch of the flu - headache, achy bones, and just being plain tired.  As I was leaving for the doctor, my husband asked me to stop at the store for some groceries.  I have told my nieces and nephews countless times, reverberating their parents' orders, "If you're too sick to go to school (work), you're too sick to go anywhere else."  He decided that we didn't need the groceries today.

Happy Baking!
Aunt Janet

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