Chilling Christmas: A Haunted Holiday Tradition

Published Monday, December 2, 2019

There'll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
A
nd caroling out in the snow
T
here'll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of the
Christmases long, long ago…

"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" by Edward Pola & George Wyle
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Once upon a time, the winter season was a time of foreboding. With communal anxiety over the uncertainty of food and the overall chill in the air, it was a time for both reflection and sharing. Although it is not well-known in the United States, it is a common tradition in Britain to tell ghost stories this time of year, with the custom still being acted out in the form of TV shows and fictional prose in newspapers. This post is inspired by that seasonal tradition.

Krampus (DVD)

This movie is based off European folktales of the creature Krampus, a dark aspect of Santa Claus who, instead of bringing children gifts, punishes them for any naughtiness or wrongdoings they’ve done throughout the year. This dark comedy will make you rethink how Christmas eventually came to be a holiday lauded for focusing on joy and cheer, as aspects of it came from such dark roots; it will also make you thankful that only coal is now given out for bad behavior!

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The Complete Christmas Books and Stories
by Charles Dickens

A complete collection of Charles Dickens’ Christmas stories. A great assortment of short tales to read, in case you need a break from the famed Dickens’ story, A Christmas Carol!

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The Turn of the Screw
by Henry James

Considered a classic in English literature, this is a story-within-a story, with the background setting being a mysterious narrator sharing his ghost tale on a chilly winter’s evening. The narrator’s account follows a governess, who has eerie encounters during her employment, while two young children are under her care.

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The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories

Telling ghost stories during Christmas was a very Victorian tradition, and this wonderful anthology captures it! This book includes tales by Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Walter Scott, and other various authors.

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The Man Who Invented Christmas (DVD)

An embellished re-telling of how Charles Dickens came up with the story for A Christmas Carol. Dickens’ tale borrows from the British holiday tradition of telling ghost stories, with Dickens relying on his contemporary audience to be familiar with the practice. This movie explores how Dickens generated his now-famous characters Scrooge, and the Christmas Ghosts of Past, Present and Future.

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About the Author

Allie has been a Page in the Adult Library at EPL since 2017. An avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction, some of her favorite categories include poetry, mystery, and self-help books.