Nearly two centuries after it was first published, "A Christmas Carol" remains an integral part of the holiday season and provides a message that's as relevant today as it was when it was first written. Despite its ghostly characters, the story manages to ooze holiday spirit and proves that even the most miserable among us can one day find redemption. Take our quiz to test your knowledge of the history, characters and greatest adaptations of this Christmas classic!
Scrooge is visited by four ghosts in total, including former partner Jacob Marley as well as the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come.
Charles Dickens needed just six weeks to pen his masterpiece, which was released in December 1843. Washington Irving was a famous writer in his own right, and his works helped inspired the image of Santa Claus presented in Clement Moore's "The Night Before Christmas."
It took just three days for readers to buy up every copy of "A Christmas Carol" after its 1843 release. It remains so popular that it has never been out of print.
It was Bob Cratchit who managed to keep his spirits up while working for Scrooge, despite a lack of coal to warm the office and a boss with a seriously bad attitude.
When his nephew Fred invites him to celebrate Christmas with Fred's family, Scrooge replies with the famous line, "Bah! Humbug."
Even after his door knocker transforms into a ghostly version of his former partner, Scrooge is reluctant to believe that something spooky may be heading his way. It takes some convincing from Marley and his heavy chains to make Scrooge begin to doubt himself.
The Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge on a trip back to his youth, where readers are introduced to his fiance Belle, his sister Fan and his former boss Fezziwig.
The Ghost of Christmas Present takes Scrooge to see the crippled Tiny Tim, as well as the concepts of Ignorance and Want, disguised as ragged children.
Scrooge and the ghost visit the gravestone of a lonely, miserable man, and Scrooge is horrified to learn that the grave it actually his own.
After Scrooge wakes up on Christmas day and decides to change his ways, he gifts the Cratchits with a turkey for their holiday meal.
"A Christmas Carol" is set exactly seven years after the death of Jacob Marley -- who was Scrooge's former business partner and a miser in his own right.
The original novella includes five chapters -- or staves. They include an introduction, a visit from each of the three ghosts, and a look at Scrooge's transformation after meeting his ghostly visitors.
The first movie version of the book was a short called "Scrooge" or "Marley's Ghost" that was released way back in 1901. It was followed by a now-lost 1908 adaptation, which was also a short rather than a full-length film.
"The Right to Be Happy" was the first full-length film to tell Scrooge's tale. It came out in 1916 and starred Rupert Julian as Scrooge.
In a 1938 version of "A Christmas Carol," which starred Reginald Owen as Scrooge, Cratchit earns a week without pay for knocking Scrooge's hat off with a snowball.
The 1951 version of the story, which was released in black and white, is often colorized in modern releases. The film starred Alastair Sim as Scrooge and Mervyn Johns as the clerk Bob Cratchit.
Albert Finney played Scrooge in the 1970 film of the same name. While it was another in a long line of movie adaptations of "A Christmas Carol," it was the first major motion picture to capture the story in the form of a musical.
In the 1970 musical film "Scrooge," the role of Jacob Marley's ghost was played by none other than Alec Guinness -- yes, the same Alec Guinness who would later play Obi-Wan Kenobi in "Star Wars."
"Mickey's Christmas Carol" came out in 1983 and was the first original cartoon produced since the 1950s starring the famous mouse. Repeated airings on network TV made the Disney version of the story the first exposure many people had to Dickens' classic tale.
Who else but Mickey Mouse could play the lovable Cratchit, with Uncle Scrooge as Ebenezer Scrooge and Donald as his nephew Fred?
Goofy took on the role of Marley's ghost, while Daisy Duck played Isabella, the young Scrooge's love interest.
Jiminy Cricket played the Ghost of Christmas Past, with Willie the Giant and Big Pete as the Ghosts of Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come.
It was a rat and a mole who came soliciting donations for charity from the tightfisted Scrooge. The same duo met up with Scrooge after his reformation and happily accepted a donation to their cause.
"The Muppets Christmas Carol" came out in 1992. The special featured Kermit as poor clerk Bob Cratchit and Gonzo in the role of Charles Dickens, who narrated the show.
Carrey took on the role of Scrooge as well as that of all three ghosts in the 2009 Disney film, which used motion capture animation to give the story a unique look.
Like Carrey, Gary Oldman took on multiple roles in the film. Not only did he play Cratchit, but he also starred as Marley's ghost and provided the motion capture for Tiny Tim.
Scrooge's sister and Fred's mother Fan died giving birth to the boy. When visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, Scrooge revels in fond memories of his lost sister.
When visited by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, Scrooge learns that his maid, Mrs. Dilber, plans to steal his possessions and sell them to make a quick buck off her miserly boss.
Robin Wright Penn played both Scrooge's former fiance Belle and his deceased sister Fan in the 2009 film.
It was Kelsey Grammer of "Frasier" fame who played Scrooge in the musical, while Jason Alexander from "Seinfeld" took on the role of Jacob Marley.