The Ghosts of Christmas Past

What says Christmas more than murder and blood? Yes, you read that correctly!

In our first episode of the December series, “Hooray for Holidays,” Candy and Ashley explore the custom of telling ghost stories at Christmastime– a practice that originated long, long ago, but was popularized again during the Victorian era, primarily thanks to Charles Dickens. 

As Jerome K. Jerome wrote in 1891, “Whenever five or six English-speaking people meet round a fire on Christmas Eve, they start telling each other ghost stories…It is a genial, festive season, and we love to muse upon graves, and dead bodies, and murders, and blood.”

So grab a cup of hot chocolate and snuggle in while Candy and Ashley dig into the grave tradition of telling scary Christmas stories. And as an added bonus, you’ll get to hear Ashley read a short excerpt from a spooky Victorian tale!

Show Notes for Episode 11!

A Christmas Carol Ebenezer Scrooge (right) and the Ghost of Christmas Present, illustration from an edition of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.
Illustration of “The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton”

Hear the song (performed by Andy Williams) that inspired the episode!


“Why Do People Tell Ghost Stories on Christmas?” Smithsonian Magazine, by Kat Eschner, December 23, 2016

“A Plea to Resurrect the Christmas Tradition of Telling Ghost Stories,” Smithsonian Magazine, by Colin Dickey, December 15, 2017

“How Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ Changed the Way the Holiday is Celebrated,” Time, by Kate Samuelson, November 21, 2017 

“The Fascinating History of Halloween and How the Holiday Originated,” Good Housekeeping, by Caroline Picard and Lizz Schumer, June 21, 2021

“On the Lost Christmastime Tradition of Telling Ghost Stories,”, by Olivia Rutligliano, December 21, 2020  

“The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton” by Charles Dickens

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