Many of us are use to reading and watching "A Christmas Carol" which is a Victorian story written by Charles Dickens. The book is filled with spirits. For the Victorians this was an usual occurrence to get together and read ghost stories during the long winter months and even on Christmas.
In the Victorian age, spiritualism was highly popular. It was Victorian Humorist, Jerome K. Jerome that quotes this:
Whenever five or six English-speaking people meet round a fire on Christmas Eve, they start telling each ghost stories.
Why ghost stories? Winter is a spooky month if you think about it, it gets darker earlier, it's stormy, isolating to some, and it does like to howl a lot. Winter is not just a magical time of the year, it's kind of spooky.
For the Victorians telling ghost stories together was just another activity. Christmas Eve and Christmas was a time to be together, when they got together telling a few spooky stories wasn't just an Halloween activity.
M.R. James is just one author that agreed with his stories and others to be told to during the Christmas Period. Many of his tales were written during Christmas Eve and he would read them aloud of his friends.
While most of the Modern age probably doesn't practice this tradition anymore, Andy Williams didn't leave that part of history out of his famous song, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year."
Also the BBC has premiered ghost stories on their stations during the Christmas time like the Miniseries "Ghost Stories for Christmas."
Remember though that this practice of telling ghost stories during Christmas was before the Victorian age. Washington Irving commented about this practice in "Old Christmas." While that is, the Victorians practicing this tradition helped create some great works and it was a very fashionable thing. The Victorian ghost story was a staple. It was their way of entertainment too.
If you feel like keeping up with this tradition here are some works:
- "The Folio Book of Christmas Ghost Stories"
- "Casting the Runes and Other Ghost Stories-M.R. James
- "The Abbot's Ghost: A Christmas Story"-Louisa May Alcott
- "A Christmas Carol"-Charles Dickens
So ghost stories aren't just for Halloween, do like your ancestors did and read a couple of ghost stories. Get that fireplace roaring!