We often think of Halloween as the time to tell ghost stories but it is not the only holiday worthy of them. Christmas has a number of scary stories and beasts attributed to it. Tales that have been pasted through the generations, morphed and adapted from older winter holiday traditions. These stories share similar themes:
- Be grateful for what you have been given.
- Be a generally good person.
The punishment for the ungrateful or cruel is often harsh and in some cases the wrongdoer is killed.
There’ll be parties for hosting– It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Marshmallows for toasting
And caroling out in the snow
There’ll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of
Christmases long, long ago…”
Most of us have heard of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, where Scrooge is visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Christmas Yet to Come. This story is so engrained in our culture that we tend to call anyone who does not like to celebrate Christmas a Scrooge, even though, in the end, the old miser did change his ways.
One of the creepier Christmas holiday legends is that of Krampus. A figure out of Germanic folklore with pre-Christian origins. He is a devil-like figure in chains and bells. He caries and bag and birch branches. Depending on the version of the tale he just leaves birch twigs in bad children’s shoes, in some tales Krampus beats evil children with the birch branches, and in the darkest versions of this ghost story, he carries off naughty children in his bag to kill or possibly devour.
A lot of the ghost stories and monster tales related to Christmas come from western Europe. Some of my favorites are specifically from Icelandic folklore. Which I did not realize until after my research. One of these beasties is the Yule Cat. This is essentially a giant house cat that eats people that do not have new clothes for Christmas. The myth was formed in a time where people had to work to create their own clothes. Honestly, I love this folklore because of the art it inspires.
If you want to hear some of these stories told in all their creepy glory, check out these podcasts:
There is other creepy Christmas myths and folklore out there. I would love to hear and share yours favorite myths and legends, they can be commented below or sent via my Contact page. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Stay safe out there.
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