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Haunting Holidays: Five Christmas Ghost Stories to Chill the Bones

The custom of sharing ghost stories during Christmas ?, once a Victorian staple, has faded over time but may be experiencing a resurgence. Andy Williams' classic song "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" ? hints at this old tradition with its lyrics about telling "scary ghost stories ?." Here are five eerie tales set during the festive season, each with its own chilling twist.

1. "Between the Lights" by E. F. Benson (1912): On Christmas Eve ?, a man recalls a haunting experience from the previous year. While observing a croquet game ?, he envisions monstrous creatures approaching him, rendering him paralyzed. The tale, with its daylit ghost and unnerving climax, serves as a reminder that hauntings aren't confined to night ? and can be as chilling as the cold winter air ❄️.

2. "The Kit-Bag" by Algernon Blackwood (1908): This story follows a law clerk rushing to prepare for a Christmas ski trip ⛷️, unaware that the bag he's packing hides a grisly secret linked to a recent murder trial ?. The narrative combines holiday anticipation ? with a sinister twist, illustrating how the festive season can mask darker realities.

3. "A Strange Christmas Game" by J. H. Riddell (1863): Authored by renowned ghost story writer J. H. Riddell, this Victorian tale involves a brother and sister who inherit a house ? where they witness a spectral reenactment of their benefactor's tragic demise. The story plays with the idea of ghosts engaging in a macabre game ?, blurring the lines between the living and the dead ?.

4. "Christmas Re-union" by Sir Andrew Caldecott (1912): Set at a family holiday party ?, this tale introduces a disagreeable guest whose departure coincides with a Santa Claus impersonator's arrival ?. The story cleverly intertwines the festive with the frightful, leaving readers to ponder if the avenging Santa is a ghost or merely a vengeful relative.

5. "Smee" by A. M. Burrage (1931): A game of hide-and-seek ? during a Christmas Eve party takes a ghostly turn when an uninvited spectral participant joins in. This story captures the essence of a haunted holiday, blending the joy of festive games ? with the thrill of a ghostly encounter ?, and serves as a cautionary tale about the perils of holiday excesses.

These stories, with their mix of festive cheer ? and spine-tingling terror ?, embody the forgotten tradition of Christmas ghost storytelling.

Source: Colin Fleming, The Paris Review, December, 2014

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