The first thing to point out with this collection is that it is well worth getting just for the first tale (the Christmas Carol). Christmas Carol, by far and away, more than matches the hype and is (dare I say it) genius! No other story (that I know of) imbues the spirit of christmas more perfectly and faithfully and this book is worth purchasing just for that.
However, tales two and three ('Chimes' and 'Cricket on the Hearth') are not quite so good and do let the collection down. 'Chimes' is a good story in essence: it is about a charactor called Trotty who becomes cynical about human nature and is taught a redemptive lesson by the spirits that live in the bells of the local church.
The really erksome thing is that the story never really seems to go anywhere and goes around the houses trying to do so. What should be a clear-cut and heartwarming tale, ends up not really imparting the lesson that it should; that man is built for better things.
'Cricket on the Hearth' is a little better and clearer in what it is aiming for and in its writing although I did read through ten pages of it where not a lot happened. Essentially it is about a carrier (Peerybingle) and his wife Dot who are watched over by a Guardian Angel in the form of a cricket. In a similar way to Christmas carol, this tale covers a redemption plot of the local toymaker (Tackleton) but also includes several other elements that make it an enjoyable Christmas tale.
So, to conclude, the first story in this book should be read by everyone, the second can be skipped and the third is worth reading, if only at Christmas time. As a collection, this book excludes the rather poorer tales of 'Battle of Life' and 'Haunted man', which is a redeeming virtue - if it excluded 'Chimes' as well, then it would be a true masterpiece.