Freaky and Festive Things Horror Fans can do this Holiday Season (1 of 2)
The Christmas season is now upon us. But that’s no reason to be sad! Sure it may not be Halloween, but all seasons and holidays (especially Christmas) offer freaky and festive fun for the horror fan. Read on to find out how you can get in the festive spirit…but still be scared! (Read part two here.)
1. Watch Christmas Themed Horror Movies
There’s a plethora of Christmas and Christmas-themed horror movies, which if you’re reading this I’m sure you know. But there are other awesome films besides the usual snowy suspects (i.e. Black Christmas (1974 ) Silent Deadly Night (1984), Rare Exports (2010), Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), Krampus (2015) etc.) so I would recommend setting some time aside to find and watch those hidden gems, as well as the classics (not like you weren’t going to do that already). Maybe even set aside time each week, like every Friday night, and have a Christmas horror marathon with seasonal drinks and snacks in place of popcorn! Who knows…maybe in your holiday horror digging you’ll find a new favorite that will become a staple alongside your yearly viewing of Christmas Evil!
2. Trim the Horror Tree
One of the things I love to do during the Christmas season is trim the tree. But being a horror fan I don’t trim just any tree I TRIM THE HORROR TREE!! There are a good many horror ornaments (some even made by Hallmark) that depict some of our favorite monsters and mad men that, combined with some red and green trimmings (which we all know are ALSO horror colors), and a monster mask or horror specific tree topper, you too can have your own horror tree! Not only that but you can have the pleasure of watching your family and friends shrink back from it in terror as they gather round it Christmas day!
Note: I recommend when shopping for horror specific tree trimmings and holiday horror merch you check out: https://middleofbeyond.com/ as well some of the great horror centric stores on Etsy. Just search: “horror Christmas” and you will find all sorts of holiday horror stuff you didn’t know existed-but now want!
3. Read Some Ghost Stories
You know that line from that famous, and arguably overplayed, Andy Williams song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” where he sings: “There’ll be scary ghost stories” there will?! When?! Here in the states that reference doesn’t ring true with many because, unlike the U.K., our Christmas ghost story traditions haven’t survived (reading or watching A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens who, by the way, did not start the tradition, is sadly about it.) But in the UK and other parts of Europe watching, reading and/or telling ghost stories at Christmastime is still going relatively strong!
One of the greatest ghost story writers, distinguished scholar, medievalist, and the creator of the antiquarian ghost story subgenre, M.R James (1862- 1936), who wrote a ghost story every Christmas (and whose work has been published and republished, as well as adapted for the small screen numerus times) has television adaptions of his work played on TV every December in England. They replay his work like we replay A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) or It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). With that in mind I recommend reading and watching some ghost stories this Christmas season. They don’t have to be by Dickens or M.R James, (although you should still check him out!) Just find some horror stories that, while not necessarily set during Christmas or winter, rely more on the imagination and suggestion then viscera and gore, with a twinge of the spectral, and carry on a tradition that has mostly died, out but still holds strong in some countries and households during the holidays.
4. Write a Ghost Story
Reading or watching a ghost story is easy. Writing a ghost story is easy. Writing an effective and original ghost story is hard. Very. However, if you’re stuck at home one snowy night with your shopping done and the house to yourself, writing a ghost story of your own can be a fun challenge that can really pay off, especially if you decide to go all the way when your done and read it to your family and friends during the holidays. This year will be my second year doing this and let me tell you it’s a lot of fun! Tapping into an early horror tradition that originated long before the Victorians popularized it and Dickens capitalized on it, it is a great way to tap into the more dark and spooky roots of the holiday. It’s a great opportunity for aspiring weavers of terror tales, as well as those just looking for a fun challenge to cut their fangs on a genre of horror literature that is probably the hardest to write. But remember this at its core is supposed to be fun so even if you’re not that into writing, or if your story is fairly rudiment, or not meant to be scary, it doesn’t matter! While some may seek to craft the next spectral classic, you don’t have to! Just have fun and do your best and remember they don’t even have to take place at Christmastime. Your ghost story can be set any time, any day, any year. The possibilities are endless!
5. Shop Christmas Horror Sales and Specials
Since Christmas is a holiday that entails a lot of shopping and gift giving it should come as no surprise that many companies, including ones that cater to the horror fan, have special sales and limited releases for shoppers this time of year. I would recommend setting aside some of your horror budget, (especially for this season) so when you’re done shopping for everyone else on your list, you can treat yourself and get that one limited release of that fright flick or creepy collectible that you’ve been wanting, the one that’s only limited to 5,000 copies. You know you will end up paying an arm and a leg (or two) if you want to purchase said item on the secondary market. Go for it! You deserve it!