Considering all the misery one finds in a Charles Dickens novel, it’s often easy to overlook the scribe’s more jovial sentiments. Except, of course, when it comes to the holidays (think of the rhapsodic “Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days” from the Pickwick Papers, or that literary granddaddy of goodwill first expressed by the ailing Tiny Tim: “God bless us every one”). How appropriate, then, that one of the season’s most enduring festivals draws its inspiration from not only the writer himself but also the age in which he lived. For the thirty-first year, Galveston presents Dickens on the Strand, a three-day (December 3–5) extravaganza of Victorian frivolity (a knighting ceremony; a royal parade, complete with Beefeaters; a full-out feast with between-course readings of A Christmas Carol) and modern-day amusements, such as a dress-as-your-favorite-Dickens-character costume contest. For the youngsters there’ll be a petting zoo, a scavenger hunt, and a snow yard where some 30,000 pounds of ice will be transformed into a wonderland of falling flakes—enough to warm the heart of even the coldest Scrooge. STACY HOLLISTER

See Galveston: Other Events for details and directions.