Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

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Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come
The Last of the Spirits-John Leech, 1843.jpg
Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Original illustration by John Leech (1843)
First appearance A Christmas Carol 1843
Created by Charles Dickens
Nickname(s) The Ghost Of Christmas Future, Christmas Future
Species Ghost
Gender Neutral
Occupation Producer of Visions
Relatives The Ghost Of Christmas Past, The Ghost of Christmas Present.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, also known as The Ghost of Christmas Future, sometimes The Spirit of Christmas Future or The Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come, is a fictional character in English novelist Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. It is the third and final spirit to visit the miser Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve. The spirit closely resembles the Grim Reaper.


"The Phantom slowly, gravely, silently approached. When it came near him, Scrooge bent down upon his knee; for in the very air through which this Spirit moved it seemed to scatter gloom and mystery. It was shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form, and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand. [...] It thrilled [Scrooge] with a vague uncertain horror, to know that behind the mask there were eyes staring at him."

Scrooge finds the Ghost Of Christmas Future the most fearsome of the Spirits; it appears to Scrooge as a figure entirely muffled in a black hooded cloak, except for a single spectral hand with which it points. Although the character never speaks in the story, Scrooge understands it, usually through assumptions from his previous experiences and rhetorical questions. It is notable that, even in satires and parodies of the tale, this spirit retains its original look. It looks the way it does because it represents what the future holds for Scrooge if he does not change his ways.

When the Ghost makes its appearance, the first thing it shows Scrooge is three wealthy gentlemen making light of a recent death, remarking that it will be a cheap funeral, if anyone comes at all. One businessman said he would go....if lunch is provided. Next, Scrooge is shown the same dead person's belongings being stolen by Scrooge's charwoman Mrs. Dilber, Scrooge's laundress, and the local undertaker and sold to a receiver of stolen goods called Old Joe. He also sees a shrouded corpse, which he implores the Ghost not to unmask. Scrooge asks the ghost to show anyone who feels any emotion over the man's death. The ghost can only show him a poor couple indebted to the man momentarily rejoicing that the man is dead giving them more time to pay off their debt. After Scrooge asks to see some tenderness connected with death, the ghost shows him Bob Cratchit and his family mourning the passing of Tiny Tim. The spirit then takes Scrooge to a rundown churchyard and shows the repentant miser his own grave; Scrooge then realizes that the dead man of whom the others spoke ill was himself.

Horrified, Scrooge begs the ghost for another chance to redeem his life and "sponge away the writing on this stone".

For the first time the hand appeared to shake. "Good Spirit," he pursued, as down upon the ground he fell before it: "Your nature intercedes for me, and pities me. Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me, by an altered life!"
The kind hand trembled.

Scrooge then awakes to find that the spirit's hand has become his bedpost and that he is back in the present on Christmas morning. Along with the visions supplied by the other spirits, the ghost's warnings about Scrooge's future transform him into a better man.

Appearance in various film adaptations[edit]

  • In Scrooge, the ghost reveals itself to have a frozen, dirty skeletal face underneath the shrouded robes, as well as bony skeletal hands. This sudden change of appearance scares Scrooge into falling backwards down his grave and into Hell.
  • In the 1979 Dutch musical De Wonderbaarlijke Genezing van ( The Wonderfull Cure Of) Ebenezer scrooge, the ghost is played by Steye van Brandenberg.
  • In Mickey's Christmas Carol, Christmas Future smokes a cigar, blowing fog all over Scrooge McDuck. In the graveyard scene, when Scrooge asks the spirit whose grave they are seeing, the spirit strikes a match to light up the inscription on the gravestone, which bears Scrooge's name. The spirit subsequently reveals himself to be Pete, who pushes Scrooge into the grave replying: "Why yours, Ebenezer. The RICHEST man in the cemetery!!!"
  • In the Jetsons episode, The Jetsons Christmas Carol, the spirit first appears to resemble the monolith from 2001, until the front is revealed as being adorned with computer buttons; Spacely refers to him as "The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Be...well have a merry one."
  • In the 1984 made-for-television film, the spirit responds to Scrooge (played by George C. Scott) in the form of an eerie metallic noise that sounds similar to the screech of a cemetery's gate.
  • In the 1992 film The Muppet Christmas Carol, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (performed by Don Austen) is depicted as a large, faceless figure in a tattered black hood, walking Scrooge (played by Michael Caine) slowly to each place he must visit. At the end, when he reveals Scrooge's grave, Scrooge grabs onto the spirit's robe, tearfully saying that he is a changed man, and pleading for another chance. The robes fall away, and Scrooge finds that he is gripping onto his bed-curtains, having returned from his visitations and awoken on Christmas morning. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come was featured in the "Holiday Time!" entry of The Muppets Character Encyclopedia.
  • In Scrooged, The Ghost of Christmas Future is a shrouded figure with a skull-like television screen for a head and a skeletal hand. When Frank Cross (the movie's analogue to Scrooge) opens this spirit's robe, he sees several undead figures trapped in a ribcage, howling in anguish and bathed in demonic red light. The howling and light immediately stop when Cross closes the robe.
  • In the 1993 animated film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, The Joker describes the Phantasm figure resembling the ghost to Arthur Reeves.
  • In the 1994 animated made-for-television film A Flintstones Christmas Carol, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come was originally supposed to be played by Officer Philo Quartz, but it eventually turned out Dino portrayed the Ghost for the same reason Wilma had replaced Garnet as the Ghost of Christmas Past; Philo Quartz had suddenly come down with "The Bedrock Bug".
  • In The Mask: The Animated Series episode "Santa Mask", The Mask appears as all three spirits to Dr. Pretorius after trapping him in a nightmare. As the Ghost of Christmas Future, he can speak, unlike the original mute Dickens version. He warns the scientist that he will receive a "gift from The Mask", which turns out to be a time bomb.
  • In Ebbie the spirit, at first, resembles Luther, the security officer at Dobson's. Ebbie Scrooge, at first, approaches him apologizing for her behavior toward him earlier...until she discovers "Luther" is actually her third and final appointment, Christmases Yet to Come.
  • In the 1998 animated made-for-television film An All Dogs Christmas Carol, Charlie B. Barkin becomes the spirit appearing to Carface Carruthers, but later changes into a yellow outfit resembling The Mask with a Gospel-style musical number.
  • In the 1999 made-for-television film, the spirit has eyes.
  • In A Diva's Christmas Carol the spirit is portrayed by a miniature television set showing a future episode of Behind the Music about Ebony Scrooge.
  • In A Carol Christmas the ghost is portrayed as an ominously stern looking chauffeur (played by an uncredited James Cromwell).
  • In A Christmas Carol: The Musical a blind old beggar woman Scrooge rebuffs later becomes the spirit.
  • Taz (Jim Cummings) portrays the ghost in Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas.
  • In the 2009 Disney film A Christmas Carol, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (motion-captured by Jim Carrey) is depicted as a shadow of a huge cloaked figure (usually in place of Scrooge's own shadow), capable of reaching out in physical form, usually to point at something. The Spirit actively torments Scrooge in ways such as bursting out to knock him over, chasing him from atop a stagecoach pulled by stampeding horses, shrinking Scrooge down to an extremely small size and (in a similar scene to Mickey's Christmas Carol) forcing Scrooge to fall into his empty coffin sitting in an deep grave atop the fires of Hell.
  • In the Doctor Who 2010 Christmas Special 'A Christmas Carol', the Scrooge-like figure Kazran Sardick becomes himself the Spirit, after the Doctor brings Kazran's younger self into the future to see the hateful man he'll become in a bid to get Young Kazran to change his ways.
  • He is portrayed by Nice Peter in a usual black robe and a skeleton head in the Christmas 2013 Epic Rap Battle of History rapping against Scrooge.
  • In Batman: Noël, the Joker plays the role of the Ghost of Christmas Future.
  • In Marvel Comics' Zombies Christmas Carol, the spirit has its traditional appearance, except a skeletal jaw without a skull inside the hood. The ghost is implied to be the future self of Ebenezer Scrooge.

See also[edit]


  • Hearn, Michael P. (1989). The Annotated Christmas Carol / A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens; illustrated by John Leech; with an introduction, notes and bibliography by Michael Patrick Hearn. Avenel Books. New York. ISBN 0-517-68780-1.
  • Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol (and Other Christmas Writings). Edited introduction by Michael Slater. Penguin Classics