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The Ghost of Christmas Past is the first of the three spirits that haunt Ebenezer Scrooge in the live-action adaptation of Charles Dickens' novel, A Christmas Carol.


Physical appearance[]

In the original Charles Dickens novel, the Ghost of Christmas Past is described as thus:

It was a strange figure—like a child: yet not so like a child as like an old man, viewed through some supernatural medium, which gave him the appearance of having receded from the view, and being diminished to a child’s proportions. Its hair, which hung about its neck and down its back, was white as if with age; and yet the face had not a wrinkle in it, and the tenderest bloom was on the skin. The arms were very long and muscular; the hands the same, as if its hold were of uncommon strength. Its legs and feet, most delicately formed, were, like those upper members, bare... But the strangest thing about it was, that from the crown of its head there sprung a bright clear jet of light, by which all this was visible; and which was doubtless the occasion of its using, in its duller moments, a great extinguisher for a cap, which it now held under its arm.

Even this, though, when Scrooge looked at it with increasing steadiness, was not its strangest quality. For as its belt sparkled and glittered now in one part and now in another, and what was light one instant, at another time was dark, so the figure itself fluctuated in its distinctness: being now a thing with one arm, now with one leg, now with twenty legs, now a pair of legs without a head, now a head without a body: of which dissolving parts, no outline would be visible in the dense gloom wherein they melted away. And in the very wonder of this, it would be itself again; distinct and clear as ever.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Most versions retain the appearance of a being with light and candle motif, but is usually the only ghost to have the most radically diverse depictions. The 2009 version has been the most direct about their appearance. They appear as a literal floating candle person with the bottom half disappearing into nothingness and their head essentially floating above their body as a lit flame. Their candle wax body produces two arms that resemble long sleeved robes and, just like the original novel, carries an extinguisher that is only slightly as big as them.

The Muppet Christmas Carol version switches the candle motif for a more ethereal ghost-like appearance. They resemble a small child with white wispy robes and a hood and appear to lack any feet whatsoever. Their face is that of an androgynous pale-faced child with long wavy red hair and large blue eyes.

The DuckTales version draws inspiration from Jiminy Cricket's appearance in Mickey's Christmas Carol and is a small green cricket with a blue waistcoat, white undershirt and red tie. He also carries an umbrella that imbues him with the power to time travel.


In most adaptations, the Ghost of Christmas Past is depicted as being very soft-spoken and honest. While not as boastful or frightening as their two ghostly compatriots, the Ghost is not afraid to hit Scrooge with the harsh truth about his past and make him realize his fall from grace. The Ghost appears to have a subdued playful side, most likely representing one's youth, but is full of aged wisdom, representing those in their autumn years. Overall, the Ghost is trying to be helpful, even if it means being severe with the truth.

The DuckTales version additionally is depicted as being self-conscious and clingy to those around him. Feeling left out, he was willing to keep Scrooge McDuck to himself. It was only through the passage of time, that he sees the error of his ways and assumes his role as the Ghost of Christmas Past again.

Role in the film[]

The Ghost of Christmas Past appears modeled like a candle to symbolize the light that people shine on their past, in order to know themselves better. In this version, the ghost has a light Irish accent. He takes Scrooge on a journey throughout his past in order to show Scrooge how he became the miserly moneylender he is. During this journey, Scrooge discovered the following things:

  • His father neglected him and his sister as a child.
  • His kind sister Fan brought him back home from boarding school one Christmas when he was a child and their father was in a good mood.
  • Fan died giving birth to Fred.
  • Fezziwig was a kind Christmas loving boss to him.
  • Scrooge started a successful business in money-lending and finances.
  • He first met Belle during Fezziwig's Christmas party.
  • He then broke up with Belle by the time Scrooge started his obsession with finances.

After which, Scrooge wants to leave but the ghost uses then his face to show all the people the old man knew in his kindness. Scared, Scrooge quickly extinguishes the ghost with his own extinguisher. However, Scrooge is then shot up into the sky, toward the moon, and falls about 50,000 feet toward the ground back to his house.

Appearances in Disney media[]

The Muppet Christmas Carol[]

In the Muppet adaptation, the ghost is a female voiced by Jessica Fox and puppeteered by Karen Prell. The Ghost shows Scrooge his lonely childhood at school, a happy Christmas party at Fozziwig's, and his breakup with his fiancée, Belle.

DuckTales (2017)[]

A version of the Ghost of Christmas Past appears in the 2017 reboot of DuckTales in the episode "Last Christmas!". This version is depicted as a cricket (in a nod to Jiminy Cricket portraying him) and carries an umbrella that appears to be the source of his time traveling powers.

He, along with the Ghosts of Christmas Present and Future visit Scrooge McDuck every year just to hang out after accidentally visiting him instead of Ebenezer Scrooge. The group take Scrooge to his first Christmas party held at McDuck Manor, but when he gets irritated with the events unfolding, Past takes him further back to before McDuck Manor was even built, revealing that he wants to keep Scrooge to himself due to constantly being left behind and forgotten by every person he has to help every Christmas. Scrooge manages to trick Past into giving him his umbrella to return to his time, leaving him in the cold barren land.

Due to longing to be reunited with Scrooge, Past transforms into a Wendigo and begins stalking the surrounding area until he encounters a young Donald, Della Duck, and a time-traveling Dewey Duck. The trio captures him before Scrooge arrives to bring Dewey back to his time period. Seeing the two happily reunite moves Past and he transforms back to normal with Scrooge giving him his umbrella back. Past is seen with the other Ghosts attending Scrooge's Christmas party with his friends and family.

Disney characters portraying Christmas Past[]


External links[]

v - e - d
A Christmas Carol logo
A Christmas CarolSoundtrack
Ebenezer ScroogeBob CrachitFred HolywellBelleJacob MarleyMrs. CrachitTiny TimMr. FezziwigFanMrs. DilberOld JoeThe Ghost of Christmas PastThe Ghost of Christmas PresentThe Ghost of Christmas Yet to ComeIgnorance and Want
See Also
Mickey's Christmas CarolThe Muppet Christmas CarolWinnie the Pooh: Springtime with RooDick Daring's All-Star Holiday Stunt Spectacular VA London CarolCaptain ScroogeA Christmas CruellaMarley