A Christmas Carol is one of the best loved and most quoted of all English language Christmas stories. First published in 1843, it never fails to make an appearance every Christmas in some form. Ebenezer Scrooge, a most disagreeable curmudgeon, is visited by the ghost of his partner Jacob Marley. Marley informs him that he is to receive three visitors this Christmas Eve. They are the spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. By the next morning the change in Scrooge is astonishing, he has become a kind, generous, caring and thoughtful person. Dickens' flair for characters has left us with two who have gone past the story and entered into the English speaking culture - Scrooge and Tiny Tim.