Ebenezer Scrooge, a mean-spirited, miserly old man, is working in his counting house on Christmas eve, and he makes no attempt to hide his ill-willed feelings toward the season. A few people come to visit Scrooge: first, three solicitors who ask for a contribution to their charity for the poor, and then Scrooge’s nephew Fred, who invites Scrooge to his annual Christmas party. While his poor, hard-working clerk, Bob Cratchit, welcomes the guests and applauds their good spirits, Scrooge bitterly sends them away. When Mr. Cratchit is finished his work, he finds his son, Tiny Tim, waiting for him and they give money to two beggars before leaving for home, but when the beggars reach out to Scrooge, he coldly brushes them off.
Later that evening, after returning to his dark, cold estate, Scrooge receives a chilling visit from the ghost of his dead partner, Jacob Marley. Marley, who bears the weight of many long chains and padlocks, relates his story: as punishment for his self-serving greed, his spirit has been doomed to wander the earth weighted down with the chains of animosity and vanity that he forged in life. Marley hopes to save Scrooge from sharing the same fate and tells him that he will be visited by three spirits. Then Marley leaves, and Scrooge falls into a deep sleep.
He wakes to the arrival of the Ghost of Christmas Past. The Spirit escorts Scrooge on a journey to Christmases long-forgotten. Invisible to those he watches, Scrooge revisits his childhood school days, his apprenticeship with a jolly merchant named Fezziwig, and his engagement to Belle, a woman who leaves Scrooge because his lust for money eclipses his ability to love another. Scrooge, deeply saddened and filled with regret, begins to weep before the Ghost returns him to his bed.
Soon after, the Ghost of Christmas Present takes Scrooge through London to unveil Christmas as it will happen that year.
They visit this nephew Fred’s to oversee the annual Christmas Party. Here they find feelings of disdain toward the old man in the form of a joke played at his expense. Then they arrive at a new house, where Scrooge watches the large, bustling Cratchit family prepare a miniature meal in a meager home. He watches how the family cares for Bob Cratchit’s sick and crippled son, Tiny Tim, a courageous boy whose kindness and humility warms Scrooge’s heart.Seeing a missing part of himself in the boy, he takes pity on him. The arrival of Ignorance & Want, two ragged and sickly children, takes Scrooge by surprise. They are the indifference and cruelty with which he has lived his life for so long, now haunting him. Then the Spirit sweeps them away and they all vanish.
A dark, hooded figure, the Ghost of Christmas Future, suddenly appears and leads Scrooge through a sequence of mysterious scenes relating to an unnamed man’s recent death. The Ghost shows Scrooge a lonely grave, but fear keeps Scrooge from looking at the name engraved on it. He watches looters steal the man’s eerily familiar things from his abandoned home and trade them for cash, while the Cratchits mourn the death of Tiny Tim. Scrooge, understanding the lesson, begs to know the name on the grave. Scrooge looks again to find the Spirit pointing to the stone. The face of it is revealed, and Scrooge is terrified to find his own name. He desperately implores the Spirit to alter his fate, promising to renounce his selfish ways and to honor Christmas with all his heart. Then the Spirit is gone, and Scrooge finds himself back in his own room.
Overwhelmed with joy by the chance to redeem himself, Scrooge shares his newfound Christmas spirit with his nephew Fred, the Cratchits, and the whole town, and as the years pass, he holds true to his promise to honor Christmas. He treats Tiny Tim like his own son, and treats his fellow humans with warmth, kindness, and generosity.
**Original artwork from https://libwww.freelibrary.org