This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

Why people told ghost stories on Christmas Eve

If you've ever said *what?* when you heard the lyric from the Christmas song, *It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year* that says,

...there'll be scary ghost stories, and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago...

Scary ghost stories? I don't recall that from when I was a kid! And I doubt whether my parents, or even my grandparents would have recalled the tradition of telling ghost stories on Christmas Eve. So to understand it, you have to time-travel back to the Victorian era.

During the Victorian era, there was a fascination with ghosts. And I don't mean Casper the Friendly Ghost, or Ghostbusters, but how the spirit world co-existed with the world of the living. It was a time of phantasms and wraiths, a time of Ouija boards, and seances. And yes, there are still plenty of people who are interested in this kind of thing, but nothing like the interest that existed in the late 1800s.

That the most famous Christmas story of the Victorian era, Charles Dickens *A Christmas Carol* - you know, the one with Scrooge, should have included ghosts was not unusual for the time, especially in England, where we get a lot of Christmas traditions. So, telling ghost stories had nothing to do with Christmas, it's just something that people did back then, like dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh.

After the end of the Victorian era, there was less of a fascination with the spirit world. And ghosts and goblins stayed where they really belong, in Halloween, not Christmas.

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