The Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol is a beloved story with deep roots in how modern audiences view Christmas. As such it has been adapted many times — too many times. The exact amount is hard to determine as it depends on what one counts as an adaptation. Does it have to be completely straight -laced or can it combine characters from other franchises. Then there is the matter of one-off TV shows that adopt the tale. For the sake of brevity, here is a list of five A Christmas Carol adaptations that can be watched during the holiday season:

Scrooge (1951)

If there is one adaptation that should be watched during the holiday season it is this one. This adaptation starring Alastair Smith as Ebenezer Scrooge is generally the standard for any future A Christmas Carol adaptations. While not exactly accurate to the source material, it makes up for it by adding content that improves the story for the silver screen, giving Scrooge more character and personality than some other adaptations and making it a more enjoyable watch.

A Christmas Carol (1938)

One of the oldest adaptations, this version starring Reginald Owen as Scrooge is probably the most heartwarming version. This film sugar coats the depictions of poverty and strife that other adaptations might go more in depth into. This makes it more easily watchable for families that might have young children in the room. It also is the adaptation that goes into the most depth in terms of fleshing out the side characters, a feature that many other versions all but ignore.

A Christmas Carol (1999)

This version stars Sir Patrick Stewart as Scrooge and, boy, does he ham it up playing the part. Despite the overacting, this adaptation sticks very closely to the original material making it one of the best adaptations. The only negative this version has is some of the special effects are poorly done, and the Ghost of Christmas Future looks more like a Jawa from Star Wars rather than a representation of the reaper.

A Christmas Carol (2009)

This adaptation is hit or miss. On the positive side it is a visual spectacle that has great acting and closely follows the book. On the negative side it can look downright creepy to a lot of people. It suffers the same problem A Polar Express does. It possesses an animation style that looks almost lifelike but isn’t, creating an uncanny valley effect that disturbs some primal instinct inside people. If that can be looked past however, it's a good adaptation.

A Christmas Carol (1984)

While this is one of the straight-to-television adaptations on the list, it’s inclusion of stars like George C. Scott as Scrooge and Frank Finlay as Jacob Marley make it feel more like a full blown movie. This film is slower than the other adaptations so it’s one that requires some patience and a bit of perseverance. If some effort is put in though, viewers are in for a time of enjoyment.

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