Winter Ghost Stories


On a long car ride, I had the radio blaring Christmas songs. It’s the one time of year where you can really justify listening to Christmas music and not get funny looks. (Though, I admittedly enjoy Christmas songs in July and August when it’s over a hundred degrees Fahrenheit outside because it makes me think cool thoughts.) As the radio blared, I sang loudly. My cheeks were rosy with the effort of singing, and I was having a jolly old time even if I may have been off-key at times because I knew– despite the rare glimpse of other drivers– they couldn’t hear me, and therefore could not hear me make up words to songs I didn’t know!

On the radio came “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, a 1963 song celebrating Christmas which was written by Edward Pola and George Wyle. It was performed by pop singer Andy Williams that same year. As I stopped singing to listen to the song’s lyrics, one of the lines from the song really struck me:

There’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago.

The line made me stop and think about why we might not carry out this tradition– sung about a mere half-century ago. What caused it to fall out of favor?
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Christmas and Ghost Stories

To most people, Halloween is the paranormal holiday of the season – ghosts and goblins running amuck. It is the day of the year when we honour the dead and remember those who have gone before us. However, we must not overlook the paranormal that abounds just a few months later at Christmas time.

We all know the quintessential Christmas story A Christmas Carol  by Charles Dickens and would probably cite that novella as the only representation of ghosts and Christmas; however, he did write a few other ghostly tales centred around Christmas. Dickens’ main aim in writing A Christmas Carol, though, was to highlight the plight of the poor during the Victorian era in which he lived.

Then there is the often overlooked line from a popular Christmas carol:

There’ll be scary ghost stories and
Tales of the glories of Christmases
Long, long ago.

Recognise the lyrics? If you’re trying to place the title, but it escapes you, that’s a line from It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. So, based on these words, one might say that ghost stories and Christmas have gone hand-in-hand for a long time. An understandable assumption since before there was the internet, television, or anything else we use to provide entertainment these days, telling stories around a fire was the main attraction. Christmas is always near the Winter Solstice which is the longest night of the year, so what better story to tell on a dark and (snow) stormy night than a ghost story?

Family who have passed on might choose to “visit” during the Christmas season (though most often it seems to happen on Christmas Eve) because it’s normally a time of family gathering and bonding. There also seems to be an increase in angelic encounters, especially when the story features people getting lost in a snow storm.

Jeff Balenger, owner of Ghostvillage, sends out a monthly newsletter and this month he had an interesting paranormal take on Christmas. He talks about the Spirit of Christmas which possesses all of us when we choose to follow in the footsteps of the original Santa Claus, Nicholas of Myra who became St. Nicholas, and be generous of not only our time, but also of our resources. There are physical representations of Santa Claus and as children we believe in his supernatural ability to deliver toys to every child around the entire planet in one night. When we become adults, it changes from a belief in the myth to being a part of the myth.

Moving a bit away from the ghostly realm, we have winter itself personified in Jack Frost. An invisible character, to be sure, yet one capable of leaving his mark behind on anyone brave enough to venture out into the cold wintery air.

So you see, the paranormal is with us all the time, but most especially during the long nights of winter.

May you have a happy and haunted Christmas!! 🙂