A Christmas Carol was probably written for a general audience. It was the first of five short books about Christmas, which was becoming more popular in Victorian England thanks to the Royal Family. Prince Albert, Victoria's husband, is credited with bringing the Christmas tree into style in England and the Royal family made quite a fuss celebrating this holiday. Before Victoria, Christmas was often thought of as a rather gaudy, rather pagan holiday because it was celebrated during the winter solstice. Dickens was obviously promoting the celebration of Christmas.
Although the story does contain a moral message about the poor, it was probably written for profit. When he finished the book, Dickens felt his story was so good that he refused to sell the rights of the book to his normal publisher and, instead, published the story himself. This was an excellent decision on Dickens' part. The story sold out soon after it was released and made Dickens quite a bit of money. Dickens would often read an abridged version of the story at public readings where people were charged money for listening to him read from his own works. In keeping with the idea of charity in the story, he would often donate part of that money to charity.