The story of the neighborhood bah humbug who doesn’t appreciate his surroundings has become a Christmas tradition, whether through reenactments, film, or even just reading the classic. But a story set against the backdrop of Victorian England? It’s 2016 now, we have Donald Trump, social media, new variations of iPhones being released every minute, and yet no one has stopped talking about this timeless tale.

Why has this story persevered against the influences of the ages? I’d like to think that it’s because of the increasing complexity of our society, and how the holidays have become so commercialized. We still tell this story because it takes us back to a time much simpler than this, and depicts the journey towards appreciation of the people around you. It simply reminds us of what christmastime is all about. Sharing food with people less fortunate, helping families in need of medical care, being kind and considerate of other hardworking individuals, genuinely caring about the people around you and opening your hearts, not so much the extravagance of the holiday itself.

Personally, I will never forget the first time that I saw a theater production of A Christmas Carol. As a young girl, I was completely amazed by the beauty of the setting, and how someone filled with so much darkness and uncertainty could become so generous, thoughtful, and truly happy.

Charles Dickens’s novella was published in 1843, and received critical acclaim across London and beyond. While some have reviewed it as an obvious tale of religious conversion, but outside of religion, it’s simply a story about becoming a better and more aware person. While the setting contributes to the charm of the story, at its core, we face the same issue today.

Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three ghosts: The ghost of Christmas past, Christmas present, and Christmas future. One of Scrooge’s issues is that he can’t come to terms with his troubled past. Through Dickens’s master storytelling, he teaches the reader that one’s past does not define them, and you can still make of yourself what you want, as depicted by the Ghost of Christmas present. The impact of Scrooge’s careless actions is evident in his bleak future, which the Ghost of Christmas future shows him as a warning for him to change the judgemental, greedy, and unhappy way he is living his life.

In a world with over-the-top amounts of technology and often overwhelming amounts of information, the same things are true for many of us. Because of social media, we compare ourselves to others and have a hard time with our past. Yet if we’re lucky, something will give us a wake up call and we will appreciate the encouraging people around us. Hopefully, we can carry this idea into our future. A Christmas Carol illustrates the simple truth, that we all need lifting up sometimes, and it’s never a bad idea to try and improve our ways. Of course, there’s no better time to act on these ideas than Christmastime.