Welcome to our Online Advent Calendar series, where we’re doing 25 days of Christmas challenges to get everyone into the spirit! (Today’s video is Bill Murray in “Scrooged.”)

Scrooge it up, you magnificent human. 

Long before Oprah’s first “aha moment,” there was Scrooge, the famous Dickens character who was a rude, miserly, self-centered tool until he was visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come.

After those visits, he woke up on Christmas morning a different man. A better man. And he rocked Christmas like a BOSS.

Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” was published on Dec. 17, 1843 – 169 years ago today. He wrote it in six weeks, mainly because he was hard-up for cash, and wound up not only creating a Christmas classic (and introducing the world to Ebenezer Scrooge) but popularizing the phrase “Merry Christmas.”

Not too shabby.

I’d say he also set up the blueprint for modern life coaching: examine how the past has shaped you, be objective about the present, think about what people would say about you if you died today – and do better. Be better.

If Dickens were alive today, Dr. Phil would owe him big.

Another huge lesson from “A Christmas Carol” is that mankind is our business. Part of living well is not just taking care of your own, but helping to take care of all people – through charity, kindness and action.

Do you remember how “A Christmas Carol” ends, with Scrooge doing good and making up for lost time? Today, let’s follow in his footsteps and take on one of these missions (taken from or inspired by Scrooge’s own, in the order he did them, on Christmas morning):

  • Pay a child to do a Christmas chore, like putting bows on packages.
  • Send a surprise dinner to someone’s house. (Most pizza places will let you pay everything, including the tip, with a debit card.)
  • Smile at everyone you see today.
  • If you need to make things right with someone, do it.
  • Keep some cash on hand to donate to a charity or give to someone who needs it.
  • Say “thank you” often (but maybe not “fifty times” to the same person).
  • Go to church.
  • Make time to talk to children.
  • Make time to talk to someone who’s struggling.
  • Take a long walk, and really notice the homes and people around you.
  • Get in touch with a family member you haven’t talked to in a while.
  • Say yes to the Christmas party you’ve been avoiding. Shake your booty. Don’t skip the games.
  • Step up and help a struggling family.
  • Have “a bowl of smoking bishop.” (A glass of mulled wine would work, too.)
  • Be a “second father” (or mother) to a child who could use one. (But don’t refer to any Tim as “Tiny.”)
  • Keep Christmas well.
And remember, it’s not too late to become the person you always hoped you’d be. So, stop being a tool. And God bless us, every one.

Today’s Link: A recipe for Smoking Bishop, the mulled wine drink Scrooge shares with Bob Cratchit. (recipewise)

Selected Christmas TV:

  • Home Alone (6:30pm/5:30c, ABC Family)
  • White Christmas (1954) (8pm/7c, AMC)
  • The Santa Clause (9pm/8c, ABC Family)
  • Michael Bublé’s Christmas in New York (8pm/7c, NBC)