During the festive weeks before Christmas feasts, everybody loves to hate Scrooge. That's how it always was in the household of my childhood. On the first Sunday afternoon of December, my father would gather the children in the family room and ceremonially produce our green, hardbound edition of A Christmas Carol. He worked his way through the five staves of the Carol during that afternoon and the Sunday afternoons that followed, in order to complete the reading before Christmas Day. Although the younger children would fidget and the older children would complain, we needed the annual retelling of the tale to demarcate the ritualized realm of "the holidays" and signal our entry into sacralized Christmastime. All rituals require narrative; A Christmas Carol supplied the narrative structure (fig. 1)—the good guys and bad guys, the beginning, middle, and end—of our suburban, middle-class Christmas ritual.