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Episode 142: A Christmas Carol done due to debt

Christmas stories and how debt played a role in the writing of A Christmas Carol with Mak & G
Episode 142: A Christmas Carol done due to debt


Today, Mak & G look at the financial struggles of Charles Dickens and how they led him to create some of the greatest Christmas stories of all time…


A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is undoubtedly one of the best Christmas stories of all time.


But not many people know about the financial struggles that Charles Dickens went through in his life before creating this masterpiece.


Today, Mak & G look at some of their favorite Christmas stories of all time and how Charles Dickens overcame a life of debt…


“Rule number one about money, spend less than you make.” – Mak and G

Time Stamps:

00:41 – Mak and the markets update.

00:56 – The high inflation rates we’ve been having

01:18 – How Bitcoin has been moving.

01:45 – Some of our favourite Christmas stories.

03:08 – What makes Die Hard a Christmas movie.

03:24 – The stories Charles Dickens wrote and the money difficulties he had.


Connect with Ben Jones:



MAK: Welcome back to Money with Mak & G, don’t forget to LIKE, SUBSCRIBE and COMMENT on the podcast, it would be like getting a Christmas present early.  

GRANT: You got that right. Soo easy, and it doesn’t cost you a penny. Tis the season to be giving, right?  We’re getting so close to the holidays, and we’re deep into our festive routines. 

MAK: That means watching mom’s Hallmark movies with awesome snow-drenched scenes of Christmas, fireplaces burning, and hot chocolate where everyone falls in love at the end.

GRANT: Yep, lots of feel-good on Hallmark for sure.  Hey, you know what else has been pretty darn “Feel Good”.

MAK: I sure do. 

MAK/GRANT: The Markets!!

MAK: This is Mak and these are the markets. After 2 weeks of losses, big bounceback and some records again with the S&P and Nasdaq.  And, Apple is at an all-time high, up over 34%.

GRANT: We’ve talked about inflation due to supply and demand.  It’s the highest it’s been in 40 YEARS, which is a bit scary. Normally the government hops in and tries to slow things down.

MAK: The guy who does that is Fed Chair Jerome Powell.  He said inflation is real and that they are going to SLOWLY start to mess with things.  That’s kind of good news than all at once.

GRANT: Agree.  There is some concerns about Omicron, the new Covid variant, and what that will do to things.  But, overall the markets have been doing great on this bounce back.

MAK: Completely agree.  We did see Bitcoin drop over 30%.  Very volatile stuff. But, it is still cranking, up over 65%. Dad, is super happy and dancing to ALL the Christmas music. 

GRANT: We can’t have friends over, but it’s good to see him happy.  Definitely a HUGE present.  Hallmark has some great movies, but there are some true classic stories out there.

MAK: A Visit from St. Nicholas is a personal favorite. (Dramatically) ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse

GRANT: That IS a great story, and there are so many of them out there, like:

MAK: The Gift of the Magi

GRANT: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

MAK: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

GRANT: The Nutcracker

MAK: And we can’t forget…

MAK/GRANT: The Polar Express

GRANT: Hot, hot…hot chocolate (singing-Maybe Mak joins in…)

MAK: That should’ve been my line!!  Speaking of chocolate, did you see the new Netflix show “School of Chocolate”?  I think we’re going to binge-watch the first season over vacation.

GRANT: Maybe we’ll do it with some HOT, HOT, HOT Chocolate (laughing).  Besides written stories that are published, don’t the great movies too. 

MAK: Home Alone


GRANT:  A Christmas Story

MAK/G: “I Triple Dog Dare you!!”

MAK: It’s a Wonderful Life

MAK/G: “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”

GRANT: Die Hard

MAK/G: Yippee Kai Ay…then a bad word.

MAK: I know that last quote comes from dad, but what does it mean?? 

GRANT: I don’t think you should ask. Are you sure it’s a Christmas movie?

MAK: I’m not. I can’t vouch for it, since we’ve never seen it. I’ve only seen pieces when I walk by dad on the couch when he does his movie binge. He pauses it a lot when I’m around.

GRANT: I know there is a lot of shooting, but he said it’s absolutely a Christmas movie. Remember what he says:

MAK: It takes place during a holiday office party

GRANT: The soundtrack is loaded with Christmas songs

MAK: The main character’s wife’s first name is “Holly”

GRANT: It snows at the end

MAK/GRANT: 1.5 million people watch it every Christmas Eve.

MAK: He does have some good points. But, one of the best books of all time for the holidays is a Christmas Carol, which is so good it was made into several movies. Double whammy!

GRANT: It was written by Charles Dickens almost 180 years ago, and is still going.  He got the idea while going to a conference on how to help the working poor, who were uneducated.

MAK: Wasn’t he well off and had lots of money because of his success with titles such as:

GRANT: David Copperfield

MAK: Great Expectations

GRANT: A tale of two cities

MAK: Oliver Twist 

GRANT: That’s the interesting part. I’ve read he had CRUSHING debt.  When his dad went bankrupt, they took his mom… dad… and two younger brothers to debtor’s prison.

MAK: That’s a horrible place. I’ve read many were tortured, starved, and died due to disease.

GRANT: Since the dad couldn’t pay the family had to. Everyone went, except Charles who was sent to work at a “blacking factory” making bottles of liquid shoe polish. Things were dirty and dangerous.

MAK: Yeah, he was quoted saying it was “A crazy tumbledown house with rotten floors and staircase, dirty and decaying, with rats swarming down in the cellar.” Yikes, I HATE rats.

GRANT: He didn’t work there long, but it left him with some mental scars.  He was angry about how the poor were treated in society, the cruel fate of abandoned children, and his own unsatisfied hunger for both financial and emotional security.

MAK: Wow, those are some BIG words. Sounds like he wanted to make a difference, and be financially stable. Did he get the idea for the book at the conference then?

GRANT: Yep. The huge debt from his dad passed to the family.

MAK: That’s not fair.

GRANT: I agree, but that’s how it was. 

MAK: What if you were thrown into prison now for bad money management?

GRANT: Well, many people ARE in prison, because of some bad money decisions that they feel they can’t get out of.  Charles had the debt of his father AND his own mistakes.

GRANT/MAK: Rule #1 about Money, Spend less than you make!!

MAK: Not a great place to be.  But, he actually wrote the book in 6 WEEKS.  And people say it wouldn’t have been written if he wasn’t in such financial shape, and needed money.

GRANT: There is certainly some truth to that. He REALLY wanted to get out of his money problems. On December 19, 1843, 6,000 copies were printed. It sold out before Christmas eve, less than a week later.  It was a huge success. But, it took 10 years to be financially comfortable.

MAK: That’s unbelievable. But, throughout the entire time, he supported many charities, which showed his true nature. The book was said to really help increase the idea of Christmas too.

GRANT:  I guess we can thank him for Hallmark movies, Christmas trees and presents.

MAK: Well, maybe not all that stuff, but if he had anything to do with hot chocolate, I’m a fan.

GRANT: Me too!!  I can’t believe how money was an influential part of making this classic a reality.  Thanks for being here, and we’ll see you next time for more…..

GRANT/MAK: Money with Mak & G.  Bye!!

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