Whilst many of us are preparing for a busy festive period with mince pies, wine and celebrations some of will be telling spooky ghost stories. But where did this strange tradition of ghost stories at Christmas come from?
Believe it or not, the tradition of telling ghost stories stretches further back than the Christmas we know and love today which is largely based on Victorian Britain. Christmas trees and the like came from Albert, the Husband of Queen Victoria who brought the ideas over with him.
But ghost stories at Christmas are much older, but why? Many of us will no doubt know of Scrooges night of ghostly apparitions but hes not the only one to be scared at this time of year.
The idea of ghost stories at Christmas is most likely have originated around religion where some religions celebrate the birth of Christ and ‘new beginnings’ and so stories of those who were lost in the year would have been told.
In fact, ghost stories at Christmas go as far back at 1642. However, their survival to Christmas in modern day is down to the Victorians. Christmas in Britain suffered a huge decline thanks to Oliver Cromwell who banned it.
Interest in the holiday continued to struggle until the Victorians helped re-establish it and if its something Victorians were good at it was ghost stories. They were obsessed with the supernatural and the idea of sitting around the fire telling scary stories was hugely appealing. Especially at Christmas where the family would be together.
Whether ghosts exist or don’t we can certainly confirm that gas lamps in Britain helped push this further. They produced small amounts of carbon monoxide which could cause hallucinations.
The question remains is, do we still tell ghost stories at Christmas. It’s not as big of a tradition as it was, and that’s down to Halloween. Halloween has taken over as the night of all things spooky and many of us now tell stories then.