It was clothed in one simple deep green robe, or mantle, bordered with white fur. This garment hung so loosely upon the figure that its capacious breast was bare, as if disdaining to be warded or concealed by any artifice…. Its dark brown curls were long and free; free as its genial face, its sparkling eye, its open hand, its cheery voice, its unconstrained demeanor, and its joyful air.… “You have never seen the like of me before?” exclaimed the Spirit.
The narrator describes the Ghost of Christmas Present, yet Scrooge doesn’t realize at first who or what he sees. Although the Ghost’s joyful and authentic demeanor might have made his identity obvious to those who regularly celebrate Christmas, Scrooge admits he’s never before “walked” with any of the Spirit’s brothers, the Ghosts of Christmas Present who lived in previous years. Readers note that because of the change beginning in Scrooge, he looks upon this Spirit “reverently.”
Blessings on it, how the Ghost exulted! How it bared its breadth of breast, and opened its capacious palm, and floated on, outpouring, with a generous arm, its bright and harmless mirth on everything within its reach!
The narrator explains that as more people celebrate Christmas, the happier and the more powerful the Ghost of Christmas Present becomes. The spirit of Christmas is personified in his open heart, open hand, and outstretched arm. He spreads joy over all like a force of nature. Everyone is entitled to be a little happier on Christmas, and the Ghost of Christmas Present helps them to be so. Contrary to what Scrooge may have thought at first, this “harmless” happiness costs nothing, and all deserve such joy.
It was a long night, if it were only a night; but Scrooge had his doubts of this, because the Christmas Holidays appeared to be condensed into the space of time they passed together. It was strange, too, that while Scrooge remained unaltered in his outward form, the Ghost grew older, clearly older. Scrooge had observed this change, but never spoke of it, until they left a children’s Twelfth Night party, when, looking at the Spirit as they stood together in an open place, he noticed that his hair was grey.
Here, the narrator explains that the Ghost of Christmas Present’s lifespan lasts only as long as each Christmas season. On Twelfth Night, the night before Epiphany, or the official end of the twelve days of Christmas, the Ghost of Christmas Present appears visibly aged. Thus despite the fact that Scrooge’s vision seemed to last only one long night, Scrooge actually spent the entire Christmas season with the Ghost, witnessing his powerful effects on people near and far.