In a warm and winsome (and spoilery) article at The Smart Set, Colin Fleming argues that "The Signal-Man" makes an even better Christmas story than A Christmas Carol:
". . . It’s like Dickens had one over on the ghost story medium, and created a tale that, because of the evident connection between these characters, offers more hope, in its way, than the Carol does. I think so, anyway, because of that element of a burgeoning friendship in a time and place in life — especially the signal-man’s — where one does not expect to find it. Very Christmas-y. Strip the emotional realism away . . . and you have the makings of a Hallmark Christmas movie. But it’s also a story for those who struggle at this time of year, those seeking a place to partake in the season and not be left entirely behind, while not having to give themselves over to the joy you think everyone else has, that maybe you never have, or never will again."
(H/T The Page-Turner blog at The New Yorker)