The Ghost of Christmas Present is the second of the three spirits (after the visitations by Jacob Marley and the Ghost of Christmas Past) that haunt the miser Ebenezer Scrooge, in order to prompt him to repent. When he first appears before Scrooge, he invites him to "come in and know me better, man." According to Dickens' novel, the Ghost of Christmas Present appears to Scrooge as "a jolly giant" with dark brown curls. He wears a fur-lined green robe and on his head a holly wreath set with shining icicles. He carries a large torch, made to resemble a cornucopia, and appears accompanied by a great feast. He states that he has had "more than eighteen hundred" brothers and later reveals the ability to change his size to fit into any space. He also bears a scabbard with no sword in it, a representation of peace on Earth and good will toward men.
The spirit transports Scrooge around the city, showing him scenes of festivity and also deprivation that are happening as they watch, sprinkling a little warmth from his torch as he travels. Amongst the visits are Scrooge's nephew, and the family of his impoverished clerk, Bob Cratchit.
The spirit also shares a vision of Tiny Tim's crutch, carefully preserved by the fireplace. Scrooge asks if the desperately ill Tim will die. The Ghost first states that "If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, the child will die," then – quick to use Scrooge's past unkind comments toward two charitable solicitors against him – suggests he "had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."
The spirit finally reveals to Scrooge two emaciated children, subhuman in appearance and loathsome to behold, clinging to his robes, and names the boy as Ignorance and the girl as Want. The spirit warns Scrooge, "Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased." The spirit once again quotes Scrooge, who asks if the grotesque children have "no refuge, no resource," and the spirit retorts with more of Scrooge's unkind words: "Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?"
The Ghost of Christmas Present, having already aged, reveals that he will only exist on Earth for a single year's Christmas holiday. He finally disappears at the stroke of midnight on Twelfth Night, and leaves Scrooge to face the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, as it approaches "like a mist along the ground"
In the 1970 musical adaptation Scrooge, Kenneth More portrays the main character. After a song ("I Like Life"), the ghost takes Scrooge to Cratchit's house to see a brief argument after Bob claims that the dinner is courtesy of Scrooge instead of Bob's compensation, followed by a song by Tiny Tim ("The Beautiful Day"). After questioning the ghost about Tiny Tim, the ghost takes Scrooge to his nephew's house for a round of "The Minister's Cat" before the ghost leaves Scrooge back in his home to meet the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. "Ignorance" and "Want" do not appear in this adaptation.
The Jetsons episode, The Jetsons Christmas Carol, portrays the spirit as, of course, a "present", a festively wrapped gift box with enough of a sense of humor to illustrate the pun: "I'm Spirit #2!" he announces to Spacely.
In the 2009 film Disney's A Christmas Carol, the ghost greatly resembles the version in the novel. (Jim Carrey voices all three ghosts, and Scrooge himself.) This version is depicted dying at length when midnight strikes (to the point of dissolving into a skeleton before the twelfth strike) and his warning about Ignorance and Want is also shortened, only saying "Beware them both" as the forms of Ignorance and Want repeat Scrooge's unkind comments he had said to the charitable gentlemen from earlier (Ignorance growing up and appearing in a prison cell, and Want growing up and put in a straitjacket to be taken to a workhouse).
In the Doctor Who's 2010 Christmas Special, Amy Pond dressed up as a police officer presents herself in a hologram as the Ghost of Christmas Present, eventually getting interrupted at some reprises by Rory Williams dressed up as a Roman after some remarks.
Hearn, Michael P. (1989). The Annotated Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens; illustrated by John Leach; with an introduction, notes and bibliography by Michael Patrick Hearn. New York: Avenel Books. ISBN 0-517-68780-1.