This December, I am embracing the holiday spirits. I have decided to (1) read a ghost story every day until Christmas and (2) learn more about the pagan origins of the holiday. Any excuse to buy more books right? The following are books I plan on reading this month. I have also included some online articles for those interested in additional and shorter readings on the season.
My Christmas Bookshelf
Below are books I am hoping to consume or have already this holiday season (except for The Ghosts of Christmas Past and Classic Ghost Stories: Spooky Tales to Read at Christmas which I’m still waiting to have delivered).
I ordered two books from my favorite online used book seller La Creeperie: Christmas Ghosts and Mistletoe Mayhem. Both books are anthologies filled with short ghost stories. I mostly purchased these books because of the covers. I mean…
I highly recommend La Creeperie for rare anthologies and some fun covers (along with any horror and occult books you desire). The store gets most of my paycheck. 🙂
My favorite anthologies from the batch are The Valancourt Books of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories. The stories chosen did not overlap with my many other ghost story anthologies, so I was extremely happy. Each story comes with a brief introduction about the author and where it was first published. Each volume also comes with an interesting historical overview of the Victorian tradition of ghost stories at Christmas.
I am also reading some Charles Dickens’ ghost stories for obvious reasons.
In an effort to learn more about the pagan origins of the season, I purchased two Llewellyn books. While I have not had the chance to to read The Old Magic of Christmas, I flew through Yule: Rituals, Recipes & Lore, which is part of their Sabbat Essentials series. Even if you are not a practicing pagan, the book reveals the reasons behind some common traditions and gives you ideas for some new ones.
I unknowingly read a Christmas ghost story at the very end of November. Richard Matheson’s Hell House is a Christmas ghost story like Die Hard is a Christmas movie. The book follows two mediums, a parapsychologist and his wife on a investigation of the “Mount Everest of Haunted Houses” during the days leading up to Christmas. This novel is a mix between The Haunting of Hill House and Eyes Wide Shut.
My Christmas Internet Favorites
Christmas ghost stories: Dark Christmas by Jeanette Winterson, The Guardian
Ghost stories: why the Victorians were so spookily good at them, The Guardian
Folklore of Food: Traditional Christmas Food, Folklore Thursday
The Monsters of Christmas, Atlas Obscura
I am sharing the stories I read each day leading up to Christmas on my Instagram stories if you are interested!