Allen Karroll is cynical writer who hates Christmas yet works at a greeting card company. He also has an ongoing rivalry with his neighbor Zeb Rosecog, a grumpy and antisocial man who was the former CEO of Karroll's company. On Christmas Eve Karroll has a run in with Rosecog that results in him getting thrown off a bus and colliding with a child. Upset when the child calls him "grumpy", Karroll deliberately refuses to help the boy when he's accused of throwing a snowball at Santa. Karroll's bad day continues with a terrible presentation to his company's only main client that threatens his job and alienates his girlfriend, in the process ruining her secret plans to propose to him that night. After his girlfriend leaves Karroll is visited by the ghost of Jacob Marley (related to Bob Marley), who mistakes him for Rosecog because he had the wrong address and tells him that he will be visited by the ghosts of Christmas Present, Past, and Future.