The phenomenon of the holiday makes it necessary for practically everyone to get into the spirit of things. Spin the globe, drop your finger, pick a holiday from where it lands, and that's what happens. That's why it's a holiday, not a personal day. On the one hand, this can be seen as a social necessity. Part of your acceptance in a social group or subgroup depends on your ability to play a role not only in day-to-day business, but also in rituals. Commemoration, observation, celebration—these are all rituals of a sort. For a little less than a third of the human race, Christmas is the largest and most concentrated matrix of rituals. A few key images tell the story: Decorations appear in advance of the two major holidays that precede Christmas. Theme music besieges the airwaves. Homes and trees are adorned with lights. Government offices, too. These days—at least in my neck of the woods, where Christian and non-Christian faiths share a large and more or less nonviolent space, where pretty much every possible reaction to Christmas is okay—you can celebrate it, piously or non-piously, you can hate it, or you can attempt to ignore it. If, on the other hand, you find yourself in London, in the middle of the nineteenth century, some ways of thinking about the holiday are okay, and some are not.
Which brings us to Ebenezer Scrooge, easily the best known anti-social in Western literature. He's also a miser, and Charles Dickens was shrewd enough to dovetail his money-hoarding with his misanthropy, instead of stacking the character with unlikable, yet unrelated, characteristics. As Dickens saw it, Christmas was a prominent, cultural fixture, but, politically speaking, it was also an impotent one. Social injustice was defined as the poor treatment of labor, a policy of zero tolerance to debtors, and brutal indifference toward the less fortunate. The character who personified this would not simply hate mankind, he would also hold its purse strings. The character arc of A Christmas Carol traces Ebenezer Scrooge's evolution from a very bad man to a very good one, the engine of his moral reeducation operated by no one other than the story's author. (You cannot otherwise explain the employment of spirits and surreal, malleable environments.)