A Christmas Carol is a novella by English author Charles Dickens, first published in London on December 19, 1843. It tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an elderly man who is visited by three spirits bearing lessons on Christmas Eve. The novel has been adapted many times for film and stage since its original publication and continues to be a popular holiday classic today.
The tale begins with the introduction of Scrooge, an old curmudgeon who despises all things related to Christmas cheer and goodwill towards his fellow man. He shuns any kind of celebration or kindness that would take away from his focus on making money. His views are challenged when he meets three ghosts: Jacob Marley's ghost, the Ghost of Christmas past, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. Each one shows him visions of his past, present, and future in order to demonstrate how far he has strayed from what matters most—love for others—while trying to amass wealth for himself alone. Through these visits, Scrooge undergoes a transformation where he comes to understand the importance of being generous during this special time of year instead of living only out of greed.
As a work within literature studies as well as children's literature courses across curricula around the world, A Christmas Carol remains relevant due to its timeless themes about charity, human compassion, social justice, morality versus materialism, nostalgia for simpler days gone by, and providing insight into Victorian era customs, practices, beliefs, and values both within Britain and wider Europe. As such, it provides excellent opportunities for readers to not just appreciate classic pieces of writing but also gain a deeper understanding of society's culture, which has shaped our own lives today.