By 1849 Dickens was engaged with David Copperfield and had neither the time nor the inclination to produce another Christmas book. He decided the best way to reach his audience with his "Carol philosophy" was by public readings. During Christmas 1852 Dickens gave a reading in Birmingham Town Hall to the Industrial and Literary Institute; the performance was a great success. Thereafter, he read the tale in an abbreviated version 127 times, until 1870 (the year of his death), including at his farewell performance.
In the years following the book's publication, responses to the tale were published by W. M. Swepstone (Christmas Shadows, 1850), Horatio Alger (Job Warner's Christmas, 1863), Louisa May Alcott (A Christmas Dream, and How It Came True, 1882), and others who followed Scrooge's life as a reformed man – or some who thought Dickens had got it wrong and needed to be corrected.
The novella was adapted for the stage almost immediately. Three productions opened on 5 February 1844, one by Edward Stirling being sanctioned by Dickens and running for more than 40 nights. By the close of February 1844 eight rival A Christmas Carol theatrical productions were playing in London. The story has been adapted for film and television more than any of Dickens's other works. In 1901 it was produced as Scrooge, or, Marley's Ghost, a silent black-and-white British film; it was one of the first known adaptations of a Dickens work on film, but it is now largely lost. The story was adapted in 1923 for BBC radio. The story has been adapted to other media, including opera, ballet, a Broadway musical, animation, and a BBC mime production starring Marcel Marceau.
Davis considers the adaptations have become better remembered than the original. Some of Dickens's scenes—such as visiting the miners and lighthouse keepers—have been forgotten by many, while other events often added—such as Scrooge visiting the Cratchits on Christmas Day—are now thought by many to be part of the original story. Accordingly, Davis distinguishes between the original text and the "remembered version".