Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

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Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come
A Christmas Carol character
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 appearanceA Christmas Carol (1843)
Created byCharles Dickens
OccupationProducer of Visions
RelativesGhost of Christmas Past
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, the Spirit of Christmas Yet-to-Come or the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Be, 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."

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, communicating entirely by pointing, 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 – but only 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 fence 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 watches as the Spirit's robe shrinks to become his bedpost and finds 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]

"A Christmas Carol", The Ghost of Christmas Future is a shrouded figure with a skull-like television screen for a head and a skeletal hand.

  • In the 1993 Alvin and the Chipmunks episode, released as Alvin's Christmas Carol, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is portrayed by Simon. He wears a white suit and a red hat and cape instead of a black robe. He shows Alvin a future Christmas where his desire for presents has ruined his home and his family, making that Christmas miserable. Alvin feels remorse for his selfishness and promises to reform, waking with a changed heart on Christmas Eve. He spends the whole day performing good deeds and at dinner, everyone wishes him a merry Christmas, which Alvin joyfully returns.
  • 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, Christmas Yet to Come.
  • In the 1997 made-for-television film Ms. Scrooge, the spirit is portrayed by Julian Richings in the appearance of a silent funeral parlor worker.
  • 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 (played by Tim Potter) has shiny eyes that shine through his hood.
  • 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, depicted as a hag dressed in a white robe. She is played by Geraldine Chaplin.
  • In the 2000 UK television movie, the ghost is played by Ben Inigo Jones. Unlike in other adaptations, he does not have a 'ghostly' form.
  • Taz (Jim Cummings) portrays the ghost in Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas.
  • In Disney's A Christmas Carol, the ghost 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. Unlike in other depictions, this Spirit actively torments Scrooge in ways such as bursting out to knock him over, chasing him from atop a stagecoach pulled by stampeding horses, and shrinking Scrooge down to an extremely small size (particularly when he encounters Old Joe, the fence). Similar to Mickey's Christmas Carol, his visitation ends with the Ghost revealing on Scrooge's own gravestone that he will die on December 25 of an unspecified (possibly imminent) year, followed by Scrooge falling into an extremely deep grave, seemingly descending all the way to Hell, with a simple pine coffin sitting on top of the glowing red flames. Scrooge hangs on for dear life until the Ghost reveals its true form, causing Scrooge to fall howling into the coffin, but he never falls in completely. He wakes to find himself tangled up in his bed-curtains, with a knot in the wood of his bedroom floor similar in appearance to one in the coffin.
  • 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.
  • Hefty Smurf portrays the spirit in the 2011 animated film The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol. He tells Scrooge (played by Grouchy Smurf) that if he doesn't repent, all the Smurfs will get captured by Gargamel.
  • 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' Marvel 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.
  • In the Thomas and Friends episode "Diesel's Ghostly Christmas", the Ghost of Christmas Future is portrayed by Thomas the Tank Engine.
  • In the 2016 My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "A Hearth's Warming Tail", Princess Luna (Tabitha St. Germain) represents the "Spirit of Hearth's Warming Yet to Come", renamed for the fictional holiday. The story sees the spirit condemning Starlight Glimmer's Scrooge-like character for her magical efforts to end the holiday which, if unaltered, would result in an eternal snowstorm brought about by wendigos.
  • In the Animaniacs episode "A Christmas Plotz", The Ghost of Christmas Future is played by Yakko Warner first dressed as the spirit as from A Christmas Carol but soon removes the clothing revealing a flashy suit and singing a Broadway like song constantly insulting Plotz (Yakko: you got a good head on your shoulders Plotz, too bad you don't have a neck) after the music he shows a movie about the future where Ralph's son has taken over Warner Brothers Studios and Plotz has taken Ralph's place as a security guard, constantly being harassed by the Warner siblings.
  • In the Beavis And Butthead episode "Beavis and Butthead Do Christmas", the Ghost of Christmas Future is portrayed by Coach Buzzcut, who visits a dreaming Beavis and shows him his tombstone, revealing that he died a virgin because he never left the house and spent all his time watching TV. Unfortunately, Beavis forgets this lesson as soon as he wakes up.


  • 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