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I wonder if, on that storied day, even for a moment, Mrs. Cratchit's response was, "Seriously, has someone just given me a turkey the size of the boy who went and fetched it? On Christmas morning? To serve for Christmas dinner? Does this anonymous poultry benefactor have any idea how much work's involved in preparing a turkey, which should've been in an herbed brine 10 hours ago and isn't going to baste itself – the one quality that should make a prize turkey a prize turkey, in my opinion? No, no, he doesn't. No one ever does. Thanks a lot for the big turkey, jackass."

I'm fairly certain, in the years that followed, that old Ebenezer Scrooge was visited every Christmas Eve by the Ghost of That Time You Had an Unnaturally Sized Turkey Dropped Off At the Door of Some Woman Who Had Made Other But Perfectly Adequate Plans For Christmas Dinner; and that he anticipated learning some valuable lesson from that spectre, as of course he would, but it never happened.

No doubt Scrooge was alarmed the first time the apparition appeared – while he ate a mince pie and wrote a cheque to "The Poor," as he sipped some eggnog, before a roaring fire, made of mostly chestnuts, decorative pine cones and the odd carved wooden Nativity-scene figure of a camel thrown on for good measure. He would, simultaneously, indeed almost manically, string popcorn and cranberries while he did this.

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It was said of Ebenezer that, after the spirits brought him to redemption, he kept Christmas well – perhaps even a touch compulsively, it was also sometimes remarked. Mr. Scrooge's exemplary Christmas-keeping behaviour, tended to raise eyebrows come mid-August, but he was old, it was furthermore said of him, and he had promised "all the year."

Most Victorians would just quickly join him in a round of Adeste Fideles when he cajoled them, before returning to their phlebotomy or their flower presses or their bathing machines or to larking.

"Who are you?" he likely said to the ghostly visitor.

"Ask me who I was before some bright spark brought me a turkey I never asked for," Mrs. Cratchit would say.

The chain she drew behind her was clasped about her middle. It was long, and wound about her like a tail. And it was made (for Scrooge observed it closely, and it must be said, some years rolled his eyes) of steel measuring cups, metal skewers and carving forks, and a turkey baster that Mrs. Cratchit paid a fortune for at Williams-Sonoma (go away, Victorian London retail historians; who's telling this story?) from which it was said the bulb kept coming off and that even when the baster did work it still managed to get as much basting material on the bottom of the oven as it did on the "bloody great turkey I don't recall asking for."

"I'm a mother of six," Mrs. Cratchit would say, "one of whom is special-needs, but you woke up one morning, one Christmas morning, no less, and thought, 'Best thing I could do for this woman is splash out at the poulterer's and bring her a bird' that you apparently congratulated yourself was twice the size of my special-needs child. Nothing insensitive about that, now is there, Mr Scrooge?"

The folded kerchief bound about Mrs. Cratchit's head and chin was stuck in place with a meat thermometer – which Mr. Scrooge did think was a bit much. She'd make a great show of checking it every half-hour as she stood before him, rattling her chains and making a dismal noise; and he wanted to tell her to give it a rest, but he'd committed to keeping Christmas well, and so he'd just sit there, gnawing on a festive nutcracker to keep his composure.

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Other years, she'd just come moaning up from the cellar, stand sulkily in the door frame for an hour, and then say petulantly, "You know what makes a nice hostess gift? Wine. Wine makes a nice hostess gift, and don't ask me to mull it," before rattling herself away to some ghostly kitchen, only to return a half-hour later and say, "I mean some people say even sending cut flowers on the day of an event is a bit inconsiderate, but whatever."

"God bless us everyone?" Scrooge would say, pleadingly.

"Tim's not big on turkey, actually," she'd say.

"And you're not actually a restless spirit, are you, Mrs. Cratchit," Scrooge once said suspiciously, recalling he'd never heard his clerk, Bob, mention his wife's passing. "You're just a rather unpleasant woman, aren't you?" he muttered, forgetting for a moment that mankind was his business, et cetera.

"Hear me!" cried the Ghost. "My time is nearly gone! And of course it's easy to tell with me – not like with a walloping great turkey."

Mrs. Cratchit clanks her chains, to which she has added a gravy separator.

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Scrooge throws another Wise Man on the yule log. Sighs.

Merry Christmas.

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