What is the reason for Martha's hiding in A Christmas Carol?  

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Martha, the oldest daughter of Bob Crachit, hides in order to surprise her father, who entertains the hope that she can come for Christmas dinner because, like him, she must work this day.

When the ghost of Christmas Present surprises Scrooge as it sits in one of his rooms, surrounded by the fruits of "the Plenty's horn," he bids the old miser to enter and touch his robe. Then, all the meats and puddings and pies disappear as they travel through London past shops of all kinds to the Crachit house. But, just before they arrive, the oldest daughter who works in a milliner's shop, Martha Crachit, arrives.

"Why, bless your heart alive, my dear, how late you are!" said Mrs. Crachit, kissing her a dozen times, and taking off her shawl and bonnet for her with officious zeal.
"We'd a deal of work to finish up last night," replied the girl, "and had to clear away this morning, mother!"

Just then the youngest Crachits hear their father coming, so they urge Martha, "Hide, Martha, hide!" For, they hope to play a childish prank upon their dear father. Just as soon as Bob, little Bob, and Tiny Tim enter, Mr. Crachit looks around and asks, "Why, where's our Martha?"And, Mrs. Crachit cannot resist teasing him, "Not coming," she says. "Not coming!" he exclaims, with a sudden decline in his high spirits.
Hearing the disappointment in Bob's voice, Martha cannot hide any longer; she comes out from behind the closet door and runs into her beloved father's arms as the others hurry off to the wash-house.

Scrooge watches this loving family in some amazement as they partake of their humble Christmas dinner as though it were a feast. At its end, Bob stands and toasts his family, "A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears. God bless us!" The family echoes his words, and little Tim adds "God bless us every one!"