Ebenezer Scrooge has lost his only friend, his business partner Jacob Marley. Seven years have passed since Marley's Christmas death, and Scrooge has not changed a bit. He treats his clerk Bob Crachit badly, he refuses to help the poor and miserable, and he hates Christmas. "Humbug!" he calls it, but at night on Christmas Eve the ghost of his late partner Jacob Marley, who warns him to change, visits him or further spirits will arrive.
The Ghost of Christmas Past is the next visitor. He takes Scrooge on a tour of his unpleasant childhood, his fall from grace with his father, and the loss of a fiancée; but he will show the good times too, when, as the employee of Fezziweg, Scrooge learned what a joyous holiday Christmas could be.
This supernatural appearance is followed by the Ghost of Christmas Present, who comes to show Scrooge people enjoying their humble Christmases: the sentimental family celebration of the Cratchits and the more rollicking party thrown by his nephew Fred. But Christmas Present will also warn Scrooge that without more money, the Cratchit family will lose its youngest and most fragile member, Tiny Tim.
The last visitor of the night is the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, who will show Scrooge the world after Scrooge's death: His old business cronies will care not for his demise, his maid will steal the very blankets from his deathbed, and Tiny Tim will in fact pass from this world. Eventually Scrooge is led to a neglected graveyard and to one particular grave ... on the stone of which he finds his own name.
Because of what the ghosts have taught him, Scrooge awakens the next morning to find himself gloriously transformed. Not only can he once again laugh, but he purchases dinner for the Cratchits, sing in church, and finally visit his nephew Fred. We are told that from this day forward Scrooge will become well known for his devotion to the Christmas holiday.
Ebenezer Scrooge -
Ebenezer Scrooge is the main character in A Christmas Carol. The miserly owner of a London counting-house, a nineteenth century term for an accountant's office, at the start of the novel, Scrooge is a cold-hearted and tight fisted man who despises Christmas. The three spirits of Christmas visit Scrooge in hopes of reversing his greedy approach to life.
Bob Cratchit -
Scrooge's clerk, a kind, mild, and very poor man with a large family. Though treated harshly by his boss, Cratchit remains a humble and dedicated employee.
Six Cratchit children are mentioned in the original story, four of whom are named and can be personalised:
Martha - the eldest daughter, who works as an apprentice at a milliner's (A milliner is a person who designs, produces, and sells hats.)
Belinda - the second daughter
Peter - the heir, for whom his father is arranging employment at the weekly rate of 5 shillings sixpence. He inherit’s his father’s stiff-collared shirt for Christmas.
Tiny Tim - the young son, crippled from birth. Tiny Tim is a highly sentimentalized character who Dickens uses to highlight the tribulations of England's poor and to elicit sympathy from his middle and upper class readership.
Scrooge's nephew and only living relative. He is a genial man who believes that there is good to be found in everyone. Fred loves Christmas, and invites Scrooge to his Christmas party each and every year, only to be refused by his grumpy uncle.