Once it is the Season to be jolly, it is mandatory in the world of frolic and festivities to indulge oneself in one of the timeliest classics ever written. Christmas is all about spreading joy, cheer, kindness, affection, and goodwill. All this is wrapped up into one jolly good Christmas present in the form of the Children’s classic- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
The story revolves around a man Ebenezer Scrooge, who is a businessman. He formerly has a partner, Marley, who dies 7 years prior to when the story is recited. Scrooge is portrayed as a grumpy old man who despises Christmas and the idea of kindness, joy and spending time with family on the festive holiday, and calls it “Humbug!”. He dismisses everyone who comes to him to help the ‘needy’ and ‘ignored’, and even refuses to dine with the only family he has left. He illtreats his subordinate by not providing him enough coal to keep him warm during the chilly season, and also not paying him well.
The story takes a chilling turn when Scrooge goes back to his home on the night of Christmas Eve only to find his old mate Marley, come back as a ghost. The stubborn attitude of Scrooge here is further revealed when he does not even believe that the ghost is actually present there, until the ghost unties its bandage, revealing Marley’s skeleton. Ghost Marley explains to Scrooge how it suffers now in the afterlife for all the errors of his ways that he did in his life when he was alive. For that, the Ghost is tied down to the earth with a heavy chain that he cannot get rid of. To prevent Scrooge from having the same fate, he says that he will be haunted by three ghosts at different hours to teach him lessons, and vanishes.
The first spirit that visits Scrooge is the Ghost of his Christmas Past. It carries an ever-transforming attire, as a metaphor for the different stages of Scrooge’s life up until that moment. The ghost takes him through the past Christmases of his old country house when he was a boy. He recognizes everyone and is merry for a while until he’s taken to when he was a young man and how he didn’t go to his home for Christmas since. He then is taken to his middle age when he works under a businessman and how he felt happy when he was given a little something extra for Christmas by his boss. It ends with his lady love from the past leaving him for the self-centered person that he becomes and him learning many lessons on how it is important to be kind and considerate of people. Scrooge, deeply moved, sheds tears of regret before the phantom returns him to his bed.
The second spirit is the Ghost of his Christmas Present who takes him to various places where people in the present are celebrating Christmas. He sees his Clerk’s house- tiny and yet filled with many people, and meets a boy called Tiny Tim whose kindness warms Scrooge’s heart. He loves the atmosphere of a large and warm gathering and insists the Ghost into staying until the feast is done. Scrooge observes that as the day passes, the giant of a Ghost ages until it becomes really old by the end of the day. It then reveals two children under his furry coat- starved kids who are Ignorance and Want.This signifies how in the present of Scrooge’s day, his Christmas was an emblem of these two children who were underfed. The Ghost then vanishes as Scrooge without a word.
The third spirit is the Ghost of the Christmas Yet to Come. Here, the spirit takes Scrooge around on a trip where various businessmen, relatives and past associates of an unnamed dead man speak about him after his death. They speak of how they would share his wealth, exploit it, some vagabonds trading his personal effects for cash, and a poor couple expressing relief at the death of their unforgiving creditor. As expected, Scrooge finds out that dead man whom they were talking about was himself, when he is taken to his grave to see his name written on it. He apologises and begs the spirit to change his fate, and promises to change his ways if given one more chance. The ghost agrees and puts him back to sleep in his bed, as he wakes up to Christmas once again.
The next day, filled with gratitude to the spirits that he was allowed to alter his ways, he does his best to spread the jolly of Christmas and to honour it heartily. He spends the day in full Christmas spirit. He sends a giant Christmas turkey to the Cratchit house and attends his Nephew’s party, much to their surprise. As years pass by, Scrooge does not lose his Christmas cheer and spirit and becomes the kindest of hearts. He treats Tiny Tim as his own son and donates gifts to the poor and the needy every year.
The entire story depicts how humans, in general, without knowing the consequences of their actions and how they treat people, will have to face the bad fruit in life someday. However, like Scrooge, we all have chances to change, changes to find out the true cheer of humanity, kindness, and warmth in all of us and put them forth not just on holidays like these, but in everything we do, every day. That is what makes this books one of Dicken’s most loved books, as it reminds us of the true roots of a sweet, sweet Christmas.