A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol is a classic tale of love, christmas, tax and redemption by Charles Dickens

He still forgot the bread and the milk. That silly ghost!

There is no possible way to make fun of this image. It's too christmassy!

Just The Facts

  1. A Christmas Carol was written on the 19th of December 1843
  2. It was written by Charles Dickens, a great author from Portsmouth
  3. It is regarded as one of the greatest Christmas stories ever written, and has been adapted on film, radio, stage and television.

Synopsis

"Marley was dead. To begin with." - Opening Line of A Christmas Carol

The story begins on Christmas Eve, seven years since the death of Jacob Marley, the business partner of a grumpy old git called Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge has no friends and no happiness, apart from the thought of money. He is a moneylender and a paticularly nasty one at that, acting like a complete bastard to anyone who gets on his bad side. His only employee, Bob Cratchit, requests to have Christmas Day with his family. Scrooge agrees that he can have Christmas Day at home, but he isn't paticularly happy about losing his worker on a work day. Scrooges nephew Fred also appears briefly to invite his uncle to Christmas Dinner, which Scrooge dismisses as nonsense, claiming Christmas is a fraud. Two more men arrive, collecting for charity, hoping Scrooge may be able to help them, but are turned down and are told that the poor should just die and decrease the surplus population. If you can't tell already, Scrooge is a pretty heartless fella. Looks like it's time he learnt a lesson, right?

The face of misery and depression. Also known as Jim Carrey

So Scrooge pops home to have a nice night in his cold house with some gruel for sustainance. Unfortunately, this is the point when the spirit world decides they've had enough of him and his big nose. As he tries to enter his house, his doorknocker turns in Jacob Marleys face. This, understandably, scares Scrooge, but he dismisses it and enters. Whilst inside, he is visted by the spirit of Jacob Marley, who has returned from his stint as a doorknocker with a mission: To make Scrooge see his wicked ways for what they are and to change his life completely. Unfortunately, Scrooge thinks the ghost is an image in his mind, brought about by food poisoning. Obviously in a bit of a hurry, with no time to fuck around, Jacob tells Scrooge he will be visited by three spirits. The Ghost of Christmas Past, The Ghost of Christmas Present and The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. He then leaves Scrooge to dwell on that little revelation while he goes off to the Ghosts Christmas party (possibly. Reference needed).

Goodness, she is an awful host!

Scrooge is soon visited by The Ghost of Christmas Past, who makes him feel like complete crap by taking him back in time, first to when he was a child in a boarding school, where he was left alone at Christmas. It is revealed that his sister Fan (short for Fanny.....go ahead, giggle, we'll wait) came to take him home. Recalling how he treated her son, Fred, Scrooge feels disgusted with himself. It is also possible that her death a little later was the start of his misery and hate. After this, they visit a Christmas Party that was hosted by his old boss, Fezziwig. This makes him consider his treatment towards Bob. They finally see how his love of gaining money and power drew him away from the love of his life, Belle, probably the source of his crabby attitude. Scrooge is taken home and he falls asleep.

Oh yeah, he tries to put out the ghosts head aswell. Maniac!

So at this point in the story, Scrooge is understandably shaken, but time waits for no man (except Dr Who). Scrooge wakes to noise in the lounge, and decides to investigate. There, he finds none other than The Ghost of Christmas Present, giggling his little shoes of. Well, his rather big shoes off. See, he's a giant of a man in a green coat lined with fur, who takes him through the bustling streets of London on the current Christmas morning, sprinkling the essence of Christmas onto the happy populace. Ahhhhh. They decide to visit the home of Bob Cratchit and his family, whilst they eat their Christmas dinner. There, they observe Tiny Tim, a miniature lad who is ill and has to walk with a crutch. Scrooge is told by The Ghost that if Tim does not get the appropriate treatment, he will die. This thoroughly upsets Scrooge, even though this appears to be the first time he's even acknowledged the childs existence. They also see the Cratchits toasting to Scrooge, in extreme reluctance. It is also mentioned that "a shadow was cast over the party for a full five minutes." To cheer him up a bit, The Ghost takes Scrooge to Freds house, where he and his wife are having a party. It seems that they are openly mocking Scrooge and his miserable ways with eachother, but Fred insists that his Uncle can be saved from a life of hate. Scrooge even begins to enjoy the party that he isn't really at (think about it, it's like enjoying a film you aren't watching).

A comparison of Scrooge and Peter Griffin. Someone had to do it.

At this point, The Ghost has visibly aged, and is passing on, but before he departs, he shows Scrooge two children, Want and Ignorance. They are the personifications of everything that is wrong with the world (if this was a modern day story, they'd both have radiation symbols on their heads. And they'd be fat.). Telling Scrooge that ignorance especially can be a very powerful, very dangerous thing, The Ghost moves on, leaving Scrooge to the mercy of The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come.....That sounded more threatening than it was meant to.

He's gonna make you his bitch!

So The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come arrives, irritated that his last shift is so late, and takes Scrooge on a trip to have a look at what Christmas future will be like. The Ghost shows Scrooge the Cratchit family minus Tiny Tim (he died) and also shows Scrooge how people will treat him when he has died (they rob his curtains. Bastards!). Scrooge see's the error of his ways and promises to love Christmas and treat every man like an equal. He closes his eyes and begs, and when he opens them, he is in his bedroom, where he discovers that the spirits have done what they needed to do, all in one night. He becomes kind hearted and happy, much like he was before Fan (again, short for Fanny) died. He buys the biggest turkey in the butchershop, makes a VERY generous donation to the charity he previously turned away and spends Christmas Day with Fred and his wife. The next day, Bob arrives at work late. Scrooge, now a prickish jester of sorts, decides to fuck with him and pretends to be his usual miserable self. He eventually reveals to Bob that he is joking, and helps his family a great deal. He becomes almost a second father to Tiny Tim and is known throughout London as a kind and loving man who is the personification of the spirit of Christmas.

Unfortunately, this guy took over as the personification recently

Characters (The important ones)

  • Ebenezer Scrooge - A quote from the book describes him pretty acurately. "The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, made his eyes red, his thin lips blue, and he spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice ...". This guy is plain miserable. There is practically nothing nice about him. He's the kind of person you'd avoid walking past in the street. Of course, that all changes at the end of the story and when he finds happiness, but it still doesn't improve his features.
  • Bob Cratchit - Scrooges only employee, he is treated like crap. His office consists of a cold, cramped space, with no heating or fire, and his house is a tiny hovel, since Scrooge won't pay him fairly. Still, you could have a worse boss back then (The 6 Most Horrifying Bosses of All Time).
  • Tiny Tim - Bobs son. He's crippled. Or disabled. Or faking it, no-ones sure, there are too many variations. But in the original story, he is a happy chap who loves his family and is the only Cratchit to visit Scrooges real funeral which Tim lives to see unfortunately......not unfortunately, as in, it's unfortunate he didn't die, unfortunate, as in, it's unfortunate that Scrooge died....yeah.
  • Fred - Scrooges nephew, who believes Scrooge will not always be a miserable old bastard and invites his uncle to Christmas Dinner every year, always hoping his answer will change. He's married to a woman named Clara.
  • Jacob Marley - Scrooges old work partner. In life, he was as cold as Scrooge and Scrooge is described as Marley's "sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, and sole mourner". Kind of grim, but he probably deserved it. In death, Marley carries chains that represent his misdeeds from his life. They weigh him down, but he can never drop them. He warns Scrooge that a similar fate is in store for him if he doesn't change his ways.
  • The Ghost of Christmas Past - The first spirit to haunt Scrooge. His head is a single flame, resembling a candle, and carries with him a metal cap, similar to a candle extinguisher. Scrooge finds use for this later, when he tries to rid himself of the spirit.
  • The Ghost of Christmas Present - The second spirit to haunt Scrooge. He is described as a "Jolly Giant", always smiling and seeing the best of everyone. He has curly brown hair and a beard (an awesome beard, by the way) and claims he has had more than 1800 brothers. Seem's like Mr and Mrs Christmas Present had some fun doesn't it?
  • The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come - The final spirit to haunt Scrooge. This is the one spirit that unnerves the old miser. He is tall, wearing only a black cloak, similar to that of the Grim Reaper. His body is concealed by the cloak, apart from one skeletal hand, which he uses to point out where he wants Scrooge to look or go.

Adaptations

The story has been adapted by pretty much everyone, including Disney and The Muppets. Unfortunatley, not every version is accurate to the original story AKA Hollywood saw the chance to make some dough and churned out the usual crap. However, there are still some good versions. Here is a list of what are possibly the best:

  • A Christmas Carol (1984) - called by some "The definitive Christmas Carol", this isn't exactly true to the story, but it's still a pretty damned good film!
  • Scrooged (1988) - A comedy starring Bill Murray. Not a straight adaptation, it follows Francis "Frank" Xavier Cross, a TV Network president, as he is haunted by the three spirits.
  • A Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) - What would A Christmas Carol be like if it was done with The Muppets? Quite entertaining. This one has a lot of fans, starring Michael Caine as Scrooge, and Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit.
  • A Christmas Carol (2000) - Unfortunately, this one only aired over here in the UK, which is a shame, since it is an amazing adaptation, and succeeds into modernising the story with an accurate portrayal of how everything would have happened if it occured in the new millenium. Starring Ross Kemp as Scrooge. (Oh, okay, here you go: A Christmas Carol)
  • A Christmas Carol (2009) - A remarkably excellent adaptation of the classic tale, it manages to keep nearly all of the stories elements, meanings and events in, and only adds a couple of scenes (which were generally un-needed). It stars Jim Carrey as Scrooge and the 3 ghosts.