Ebenezer Scrooge, the central character in the novella, faces internal conflict that drives the plot. Although he used to enjoy friends and family and was even engaged to be married, Scrooge has become increasingly miserly and concerned solely with the acquisition of wealth. He has become a miserable human being and is fairly blind to how his inner conflict has ruined his life.
Three spirits visit Scrooge in an attempt to help him refocus his priorities. Scrooge recalls the love of his sister and of Belle, his former fiancée. He realizes that Tiny Tim suffers, at least in part, because of the meager wages Scrooge provides to Tiny Tim's father, Bob Cratchit. Poverty is given a face, and it becomes difficult to ignore the plight of those who are suffering around him. In a chilling scene, Scrooge is led to his own grave and is shown the lack of remorse that anyone feels about his death.
Through these painful scenes, the spirits transform Scrooge's attitude, and he emerges with new appreciation for life and for the lives of others. At the end of the story, Scrooge's conflict is resolved as he uses his wealth to improve the lives of those around him, including Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim, to whom Scrooge becomes a "second father." Scrooge is no longer focused on the importance of personal wealth but becomes concerned with using his resources in ways that benefit others, and he becomes known as a man who knows "how to keep Christmas well."