"A Christmas Carol" is of course worthy of five stars, but as this is a review of the entire volume as a whole, I have settled on four stars.
You can't say "Christmas" without saying "Dickens". It is an undying rule, and also a tribute to how great a writer Dickens truly was. How he managed to capture the perfect essence of the Christmas spirit in one small book, and therefore creating an everlasting mark on our way to perceive this particular holiday. It is both an astonishing and remarkable accomplishment.
"There seems a magic in the very name of Christmas
Besides the classic Christmas Carol, I also enjoyed the little essay "Christmas Festivities", which was delightful and heartwarming to read. Dickens managed to portray the most wonderful Christmas scene in six pages, and as I read it I couldn't help but to smile.
I also loved the detailed description in "A Christmas Tree" where Dickens minutiously describes a Christmas tree, and the thrilling fantasy flights it produce in the minds of children.
"The Seven Poor Travellers" was enjoyable as well, however I did struggle with "The Haunted Man" which is why the rating ended on four stars.
"Reflect upon your present blessings - of which everyman has many - not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. Fill your glass again, with a merry face and a contended heart.
What struck me when reading this collection of Christmas writings was the nostalgic feeling Dickens associates with Christmas in general. In almost every story Christmas is tightly connected with remembering the ones that has passed away, and wishing them well wherever they might be. Nowhere is that as evident as in "What Christmas is, as We Grow Older", where Dickens seems to reflect upon the changes that each Christmas brings, and the acceptance that is necessary in order to cope and move forward.
This gives the writings a deeper and more sincere angle, and provides a beautiful morale for the stories.