Scrooge is a tight fisted old businessman in 1840's London. On Christmas Eve he is visited by 4 ghosts one of which was Marley, his dead business partner. Marley foretells that Scrooge will be visited by three spirits, each of whom will attempt to show Scrooge the error of his ways.
This is my favorite version of Christmas Carol. I think George C. Scott underplayed this role which made it even more moving to the audience. He brought humanity to character of Scrooge. His dryness and cynicism really lead the viewer to Scrooge's ultimate redemption.
The word "humbug" is misunderstood by many people, which is a pity since the word provides a key insight into Scrooge's hatred of Christmas. The word "humbug" describes deceitful efforts to fool people by pretending to a fake loftiness or false sincerity.
Patrick Stewart as Ebenezer Scrooge
So when Scrooge calls Christmas a humbug, he is claiming that people only pretend to charity and kindness in an scoundrel effort to delude him, each other, and themselves.
In Scrooge's eyes, he is the one man honest enough to admit that no one really cares about anyone else, so for him, every wish for a Merry Christmas is one more deceitful effort to fool him and take advantage of him. This is a man who has turned to profit because he honestly believes everyone else will someday betray him or abandon him the moment he trusts them.
Jacob Marley: I wear the chain I forged in life! I made it link by link and yard by yard! I gartered it on of my own free will and by my own free will, I wore it!
Ebenezer: Bob, I haven't taken leave of my senses. I've come to them.
My favorite of all the animated versions of A Christmas Carol. Jim Backus Mr. Howell of Gilligan's Island does the voice of Mr. Quincy Magoo. The acting here is superb. Normally the character of Mr. Magoo was a bumbling character. As Scrooge Backus really gives a very layered stand out performance.