This story is truly a classic. I doubt there are many people who don't know the story of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge and how visits from his deceased business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come help put him on the path to changing his life. Dickens does go off on a few tangents where he examines the social maladies of his time, and although it may be distracting to the modern reader because it isn't directly related to Scrooge, it does help give you a sense as to why Dickens may have written the story in the first place. The ultimate message of this story is one that I think still resonates all these years later, perhaps even more so today with the current economic situation (I read a news article earlier today that said people are being "Scrooge-like" in their holiday shopping, not spending much and not buying as much for toy drives or spending as much on charities than in years past). If that's the case, then the message that Dickens gives us in this story about cheerfully helping others if you are in a position to do so still rings true. All-in-all it is a great read, and a short one too. It's easy enough for a younger reader looking to start something a bit more "grown up," and can certainly be read-aloud to the entire family in the spirit of the holidays.