You can celebrate the holidays of the days of yore as a Carson nonprofit hosts a Dickens Christmas this weekend at the Carson Mall.
The Rural Center for Independent Living and the Do Drop In day shelter, both located at 1895 E. Long St., are hosting the inaugural holiday fair, which will feature volunteers in costume selling food, games and holiday wares, each with a Dickens theme.
Dickens - as in Charles Dickens, the Victorian-era English scribe who penned the classics "Great Expectations," "David Copperfield," "A Tale of Two Cities" and, of course, "A Christmas Carol."
The latter is the inspiration for the Dickens Faire.
"We went to one in San Francisco a year ago - we didn't know what it was going to be," said Dee Dee Foremaster, director of the shelters. "It was just so charming, everyone dressed up in (19th century) English outfits, playing games and singing.
"It was just absolutely wonderful."
Staging for the upcoming weekend event on Wednesday pulled many volunteers from Foremaster's stable, including folks she's helped along the way.
"Dee Dee really helped me this year - in a time of need," said Carson resident Kathy Todd as she painted a temporary wall on the mall's north end. "She helped me get established, find a place - she helped me get some financial assistance.
"She's really been a godsend this year. When I found out I could volunteer, help raise money - I came down here right away."
A similar sentiment was expressed by Carson resident Carl Seaman, who took a more holistic approach to what helping others around the holidays means.
"I'm on disability this year and have received a lot of assistance," he said. "The thing of it is, most of the homeless, they're not bad people, not drug addicts or drunks. Everybody wants to feel useful. Everybody wants a job to do. Everyone wants to feel needed.
"That's what this does. It gives people a chance to be useful."
Jayme Foremaster, 15, the home-schooled daughter of Dee Dee, brought several of her teenage friends to the mall Wednesday to help decorate.
"It's great to have a Dickens Faire - except I hope we don't have to explain to everyone what it is ... maybe tell them it's an 'old-fashioned Christmas celebration,'" Jayme said.
Fellow home-schooled student volunteer Alex Temple, 15, said setting up for the fair was a good way to meet friends.
Alex's job was to paint several of the backdrops that will showcase the Dickens-era crafts, including toys.
"It was nice to get to paint," she said. "I feel like we'll be helping people this weekend - and that's important."
Volunteer Darla Bayer and her daughter Danita, 14, also have attended a Dickens Faire. Darla Bayer said she can't wait to see people's reaction in Carson as they're privy to holiday-themed home-baked goods, toys and entertainment over the weekend.
"We're hoping to start a tradition here."
Carolers and Christmas messengers for hire will also be featured at the event.
"It's one of those things where if you don't know what to get a loved one or a boss, this might be the thing," Dee Dee Foremaster said.
• Contact reporter Andrew Pridgen at email@example.com or 881-1219.