Christmas Ghost Stories

Wench victorian christmas rackhamJoanna here, talking about ghosts and Christmas and the assumptions we make about the past. These are three topics of moderate interest and even — to me at least — related.

Consider long winter nights. This is natural to consider since we in the Northern Hemisphere have been doing the whole it-gets-dark-at-4:30-in-the-afternoon-dagnabit thing for a while now and we are very tiWench stonehenge-4614639_640red of it. It’s still two weeks till the tipping point of the year, the Solstice, when we start to get our sun back.

Good on you, Brother Sun, for showing up to do your job.

 

How did folks cope with these long, dark, cold winter nights, historically?

In the beginning, countless generations of our pre-technological ancestors spent their long winter nights huddled together, scratching fleas, giving serious effort to the goal of not freezing to death, and keeping an ear cocked for cave bears. Probably they were not bored.

Eventually folks killed off the bears and got their act together enough for a warm fire, a solid roof, and walls that kept out the wind. The edge was off the accustomed misery of existence and everybody was seeking entertainment. Families Wench polar-bears-1665367_640gathered round the increasingly effective hearth of a wintry evening, exchanging merry jests, roasting chestnuts, and telling each other stories.There might have been riddles involved.

It makes one understand why we, as a species, charged headlong into the electronic age and the internet.

Christmas ghost stories. You didn’t know Christmas ghost stories were a thing?
Neither did I, till I went poking around the internet looking for them.

Wench fantasy-2847724_640It happens Midwinter and Christmas were considered especially ghost-appropriate.

Now I remember those old women’s words, Who in my wealth would tell me winter’s tales, And speak of spirits and ghosts by night.

          Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta

 

Another case in point. Marcellus, in Hamlet, pooh poohs Christmas ghosts.

Wench Hamlet  Robert Thew  1793

Hamlet, seeing ghost

Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour’s birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long.
And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad.
The nights are wholesome. Then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallowed and so gracious is that time.

He says this, of course, just before the ghost of Hamlet’s father shows up.
I have days like this.

Shakespeare never let a foolish consistency stand in the way of a good story.

 

Are these the same sort of ghost tales written today?

Maybe not. I feel as though these earlier Christmas ghost stories must have had a different atmosphere than the Victorian ones we inherited or the modern ones in Horror genre. The old, old stories might be more pagan. Wilder. Crunchier around the edges.
There was a great break in transmission of traditional stories, too. The Roundheads, while they were confiscating Christmas puddings and silencing carols, did their best to send the spectral holdovers from ancient times picking up their sheets and running.

 

Wenchesurreal-3005472_640

[The Christmas ghost story’s] origins have little to do with the kind of commercial Christmas we've celebrated since the Victorian age. They’re about darker, older, more fundamental things: winter, death, rebirth . . .  

          Kat Escher, Smithsonian magazine

Wench x mas victorian

Regency and especially Victorian Christmases revived the festivities and the fun of the season. Charles Dickens and his hugely popular Christmas Carol did reestablish ghost stories as part of a proper Christmas Eve family blowout.
But I don't think they quite revived the archetypal awesome Elder Gods of Yule.

 

Whenever five or six English-speaking people meet round a fire on Christmas Eve, they start telling each other ghost stories. Nothing satisfies us on Christmas Eve but to hear each other tell authentic anecdotes about spectres. It is a genial, festive season, and we love to muse upon graves, and dead bodies, and murders, and blood.

                 Jerome K. Jerome, Told After Supper

Wench benson Wench blackwood

So next time you’re reading English-set Victorian or Regency Christmas novellas you may imagine everybody finishing snap-dragon and ceasing to edge under the mistletoe and instead trooping off to the dimly-lit parlor to hear lurid and terrifying ghost stories.

Good fun, says I.

 

If ghost stories are very, very old Christmas traditions . . .

There are also new traditions

What’s you own new, new Christmas tradition?

 

90 thoughts on “Christmas Ghost Stories”

  1. For years, the children and I solved a special jigsaw puzzle. This lives on in our memories, but we no longer have enough pieces for solving.
    This was a round jigsaw, with words instead of pictures. And the words were quotes from Shakespeares works. And the words made “pictures”; the only one I can halfway demonstrate is forked
    Ye spotted snakes with
    tongues. Except the forked and tongues were slanted, like a snakes tongue.
    I have searched the internet and one can still buy this, but it is rare, and out of our price range.
    So this lives on in memory, but the tradition will die as the family peters out.

    Reply
  2. For years, the children and I solved a special jigsaw puzzle. This lives on in our memories, but we no longer have enough pieces for solving.
    This was a round jigsaw, with words instead of pictures. And the words were quotes from Shakespeares works. And the words made “pictures”; the only one I can halfway demonstrate is forked
    Ye spotted snakes with
    tongues. Except the forked and tongues were slanted, like a snakes tongue.
    I have searched the internet and one can still buy this, but it is rare, and out of our price range.
    So this lives on in memory, but the tradition will die as the family peters out.

    Reply
  3. For years, the children and I solved a special jigsaw puzzle. This lives on in our memories, but we no longer have enough pieces for solving.
    This was a round jigsaw, with words instead of pictures. And the words were quotes from Shakespeares works. And the words made “pictures”; the only one I can halfway demonstrate is forked
    Ye spotted snakes with
    tongues. Except the forked and tongues were slanted, like a snakes tongue.
    I have searched the internet and one can still buy this, but it is rare, and out of our price range.
    So this lives on in memory, but the tradition will die as the family peters out.

    Reply
  4. For years, the children and I solved a special jigsaw puzzle. This lives on in our memories, but we no longer have enough pieces for solving.
    This was a round jigsaw, with words instead of pictures. And the words were quotes from Shakespeares works. And the words made “pictures”; the only one I can halfway demonstrate is forked
    Ye spotted snakes with
    tongues. Except the forked and tongues were slanted, like a snakes tongue.
    I have searched the internet and one can still buy this, but it is rare, and out of our price range.
    So this lives on in memory, but the tradition will die as the family peters out.

    Reply
  5. For years, the children and I solved a special jigsaw puzzle. This lives on in our memories, but we no longer have enough pieces for solving.
    This was a round jigsaw, with words instead of pictures. And the words were quotes from Shakespeares works. And the words made “pictures”; the only one I can halfway demonstrate is forked
    Ye spotted snakes with
    tongues. Except the forked and tongues were slanted, like a snakes tongue.
    I have searched the internet and one can still buy this, but it is rare, and out of our price range.
    So this lives on in memory, but the tradition will die as the family peters out.

    Reply
  6. How interesting! I would not normally think of Christmas and ghost stories as going together. It does make sense though. When there was no TV, radio or even electricity, you had to spend those long cold evenings doing something.
    There is always music and singing of course. Reading by candle light sounds like it would be hard on the eyes. I’ll bet there were a lot of summer babies. But after you had enough babies, you would probably want to tell them some stories. I know most of the original fairy tales were quite gruesome. It is interesting that Christmas had its ghost stories.

    Reply
  7. How interesting! I would not normally think of Christmas and ghost stories as going together. It does make sense though. When there was no TV, radio or even electricity, you had to spend those long cold evenings doing something.
    There is always music and singing of course. Reading by candle light sounds like it would be hard on the eyes. I’ll bet there were a lot of summer babies. But after you had enough babies, you would probably want to tell them some stories. I know most of the original fairy tales were quite gruesome. It is interesting that Christmas had its ghost stories.

    Reply
  8. How interesting! I would not normally think of Christmas and ghost stories as going together. It does make sense though. When there was no TV, radio or even electricity, you had to spend those long cold evenings doing something.
    There is always music and singing of course. Reading by candle light sounds like it would be hard on the eyes. I’ll bet there were a lot of summer babies. But after you had enough babies, you would probably want to tell them some stories. I know most of the original fairy tales were quite gruesome. It is interesting that Christmas had its ghost stories.

    Reply
  9. How interesting! I would not normally think of Christmas and ghost stories as going together. It does make sense though. When there was no TV, radio or even electricity, you had to spend those long cold evenings doing something.
    There is always music and singing of course. Reading by candle light sounds like it would be hard on the eyes. I’ll bet there were a lot of summer babies. But after you had enough babies, you would probably want to tell them some stories. I know most of the original fairy tales were quite gruesome. It is interesting that Christmas had its ghost stories.

    Reply
  10. How interesting! I would not normally think of Christmas and ghost stories as going together. It does make sense though. When there was no TV, radio or even electricity, you had to spend those long cold evenings doing something.
    There is always music and singing of course. Reading by candle light sounds like it would be hard on the eyes. I’ll bet there were a lot of summer babies. But after you had enough babies, you would probably want to tell them some stories. I know most of the original fairy tales were quite gruesome. It is interesting that Christmas had its ghost stories.

    Reply
  11. What a wonderful tradition, Sue. I’m trying to envision the puzzle, but I am coming up short. Are you able to post a link to a similar puzzle?

    Reply
  12. What a wonderful tradition, Sue. I’m trying to envision the puzzle, but I am coming up short. Are you able to post a link to a similar puzzle?

    Reply
  13. What a wonderful tradition, Sue. I’m trying to envision the puzzle, but I am coming up short. Are you able to post a link to a similar puzzle?

    Reply
  14. What a wonderful tradition, Sue. I’m trying to envision the puzzle, but I am coming up short. Are you able to post a link to a similar puzzle?

    Reply
  15. What a wonderful tradition, Sue. I’m trying to envision the puzzle, but I am coming up short. Are you able to post a link to a similar puzzle?

    Reply
  16. What a fascinating post, Joanna. Thank you. I like to read the occasional ghost story. I’m something of a wimp though, so it needs to be a gentle ghost story!
    I enjoyed such a story yesterday when I read The Snow Angel by Jayne Fresina. This was an enjoyable historical romance that I suspect I’ll be rereading. It contained elements of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol; it also contained a surprising twist near the end which I did not foresee.
    Our newest holiday tradition is to spend some video chat time with our adult daughter (who has been living in South Korea for some six years) opening Christmas gifts together. I’m grateful for this particular technology.

    Reply
  17. What a fascinating post, Joanna. Thank you. I like to read the occasional ghost story. I’m something of a wimp though, so it needs to be a gentle ghost story!
    I enjoyed such a story yesterday when I read The Snow Angel by Jayne Fresina. This was an enjoyable historical romance that I suspect I’ll be rereading. It contained elements of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol; it also contained a surprising twist near the end which I did not foresee.
    Our newest holiday tradition is to spend some video chat time with our adult daughter (who has been living in South Korea for some six years) opening Christmas gifts together. I’m grateful for this particular technology.

    Reply
  18. What a fascinating post, Joanna. Thank you. I like to read the occasional ghost story. I’m something of a wimp though, so it needs to be a gentle ghost story!
    I enjoyed such a story yesterday when I read The Snow Angel by Jayne Fresina. This was an enjoyable historical romance that I suspect I’ll be rereading. It contained elements of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol; it also contained a surprising twist near the end which I did not foresee.
    Our newest holiday tradition is to spend some video chat time with our adult daughter (who has been living in South Korea for some six years) opening Christmas gifts together. I’m grateful for this particular technology.

    Reply
  19. What a fascinating post, Joanna. Thank you. I like to read the occasional ghost story. I’m something of a wimp though, so it needs to be a gentle ghost story!
    I enjoyed such a story yesterday when I read The Snow Angel by Jayne Fresina. This was an enjoyable historical romance that I suspect I’ll be rereading. It contained elements of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol; it also contained a surprising twist near the end which I did not foresee.
    Our newest holiday tradition is to spend some video chat time with our adult daughter (who has been living in South Korea for some six years) opening Christmas gifts together. I’m grateful for this particular technology.

    Reply
  20. What a fascinating post, Joanna. Thank you. I like to read the occasional ghost story. I’m something of a wimp though, so it needs to be a gentle ghost story!
    I enjoyed such a story yesterday when I read The Snow Angel by Jayne Fresina. This was an enjoyable historical romance that I suspect I’ll be rereading. It contained elements of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol; it also contained a surprising twist near the end which I did not foresee.
    Our newest holiday tradition is to spend some video chat time with our adult daughter (who has been living in South Korea for some six years) opening Christmas gifts together. I’m grateful for this particular technology.

    Reply
  21. The brand name was Springbok. I believe it used to be Hallmark. Springbok puzzles still exist, but they dob;t have the old puzzles anymore. And they don’t seem to do round ones anymore. I have never seen a puzzle made from words other than this one.
    Somewhere in my stash I still have the lid and the remaining pieces. I tried to scan the lid, but it’s too large to fit the scanner.

    Reply
  22. The brand name was Springbok. I believe it used to be Hallmark. Springbok puzzles still exist, but they dob;t have the old puzzles anymore. And they don’t seem to do round ones anymore. I have never seen a puzzle made from words other than this one.
    Somewhere in my stash I still have the lid and the remaining pieces. I tried to scan the lid, but it’s too large to fit the scanner.

    Reply
  23. The brand name was Springbok. I believe it used to be Hallmark. Springbok puzzles still exist, but they dob;t have the old puzzles anymore. And they don’t seem to do round ones anymore. I have never seen a puzzle made from words other than this one.
    Somewhere in my stash I still have the lid and the remaining pieces. I tried to scan the lid, but it’s too large to fit the scanner.

    Reply
  24. The brand name was Springbok. I believe it used to be Hallmark. Springbok puzzles still exist, but they dob;t have the old puzzles anymore. And they don’t seem to do round ones anymore. I have never seen a puzzle made from words other than this one.
    Somewhere in my stash I still have the lid and the remaining pieces. I tried to scan the lid, but it’s too large to fit the scanner.

    Reply
  25. The brand name was Springbok. I believe it used to be Hallmark. Springbok puzzles still exist, but they dob;t have the old puzzles anymore. And they don’t seem to do round ones anymore. I have never seen a puzzle made from words other than this one.
    Somewhere in my stash I still have the lid and the remaining pieces. I tried to scan the lid, but it’s too large to fit the scanner.

    Reply
  26. Woo! That second-to-last image next to the Smithsonian quote is truly, deeply scary. Great illustration!
    I especially enjoyed your wry asides and embellishments in this post, Joanna, as I always do. In fact, I’m in the middle of re-reading your books right now.
    Here’s hoping you and the rest of the Wonderful Word Wenches have a cozy, warm and deeply satisfying holiday season, and as always, thanks for your wonderful stories.
    Faith

    Reply
  27. Woo! That second-to-last image next to the Smithsonian quote is truly, deeply scary. Great illustration!
    I especially enjoyed your wry asides and embellishments in this post, Joanna, as I always do. In fact, I’m in the middle of re-reading your books right now.
    Here’s hoping you and the rest of the Wonderful Word Wenches have a cozy, warm and deeply satisfying holiday season, and as always, thanks for your wonderful stories.
    Faith

    Reply
  28. Woo! That second-to-last image next to the Smithsonian quote is truly, deeply scary. Great illustration!
    I especially enjoyed your wry asides and embellishments in this post, Joanna, as I always do. In fact, I’m in the middle of re-reading your books right now.
    Here’s hoping you and the rest of the Wonderful Word Wenches have a cozy, warm and deeply satisfying holiday season, and as always, thanks for your wonderful stories.
    Faith

    Reply
  29. Woo! That second-to-last image next to the Smithsonian quote is truly, deeply scary. Great illustration!
    I especially enjoyed your wry asides and embellishments in this post, Joanna, as I always do. In fact, I’m in the middle of re-reading your books right now.
    Here’s hoping you and the rest of the Wonderful Word Wenches have a cozy, warm and deeply satisfying holiday season, and as always, thanks for your wonderful stories.
    Faith

    Reply
  30. Woo! That second-to-last image next to the Smithsonian quote is truly, deeply scary. Great illustration!
    I especially enjoyed your wry asides and embellishments in this post, Joanna, as I always do. In fact, I’m in the middle of re-reading your books right now.
    Here’s hoping you and the rest of the Wonderful Word Wenches have a cozy, warm and deeply satisfying holiday season, and as always, thanks for your wonderful stories.
    Faith

    Reply
  31. With my children grown, married with kids and not living near me, I do not have any new tradition that we do together.
    However, a few years ago I started donating money in my grandchildren’s names. To let them know, and hopefully remind them in the future, I give each an ornament that signifies this. I usually give to an organization like Heifer, so when I bought a gift of bees, the ornament was a bee. When I bought a gift of clean water, the ornament was a snowflake, and this year I bought a gift of schooling, for a year, for a girl and the ornament is a book.
    I hope this will spur them on to be charitable when they are grown.

    Reply
  32. With my children grown, married with kids and not living near me, I do not have any new tradition that we do together.
    However, a few years ago I started donating money in my grandchildren’s names. To let them know, and hopefully remind them in the future, I give each an ornament that signifies this. I usually give to an organization like Heifer, so when I bought a gift of bees, the ornament was a bee. When I bought a gift of clean water, the ornament was a snowflake, and this year I bought a gift of schooling, for a year, for a girl and the ornament is a book.
    I hope this will spur them on to be charitable when they are grown.

    Reply
  33. With my children grown, married with kids and not living near me, I do not have any new tradition that we do together.
    However, a few years ago I started donating money in my grandchildren’s names. To let them know, and hopefully remind them in the future, I give each an ornament that signifies this. I usually give to an organization like Heifer, so when I bought a gift of bees, the ornament was a bee. When I bought a gift of clean water, the ornament was a snowflake, and this year I bought a gift of schooling, for a year, for a girl and the ornament is a book.
    I hope this will spur them on to be charitable when they are grown.

    Reply
  34. With my children grown, married with kids and not living near me, I do not have any new tradition that we do together.
    However, a few years ago I started donating money in my grandchildren’s names. To let them know, and hopefully remind them in the future, I give each an ornament that signifies this. I usually give to an organization like Heifer, so when I bought a gift of bees, the ornament was a bee. When I bought a gift of clean water, the ornament was a snowflake, and this year I bought a gift of schooling, for a year, for a girl and the ornament is a book.
    I hope this will spur them on to be charitable when they are grown.

    Reply
  35. With my children grown, married with kids and not living near me, I do not have any new tradition that we do together.
    However, a few years ago I started donating money in my grandchildren’s names. To let them know, and hopefully remind them in the future, I give each an ornament that signifies this. I usually give to an organization like Heifer, so when I bought a gift of bees, the ornament was a bee. When I bought a gift of clean water, the ornament was a snowflake, and this year I bought a gift of schooling, for a year, for a girl and the ornament is a book.
    I hope this will spur them on to be charitable when they are grown.

    Reply
  36. This is wonderful and wise.
    My own grandkids live far away in a tiny little house. They have no room for more “stuff”.
    So I give them something small and silly that gets used up — sculpy or those squishy water balloons — and a book. Then they get Heifer bees or chicks. They can’t start too young learning what the holidays are really about.
    Wndrful new custom you’ve begun.

    Reply
  37. This is wonderful and wise.
    My own grandkids live far away in a tiny little house. They have no room for more “stuff”.
    So I give them something small and silly that gets used up — sculpy or those squishy water balloons — and a book. Then they get Heifer bees or chicks. They can’t start too young learning what the holidays are really about.
    Wndrful new custom you’ve begun.

    Reply
  38. This is wonderful and wise.
    My own grandkids live far away in a tiny little house. They have no room for more “stuff”.
    So I give them something small and silly that gets used up — sculpy or those squishy water balloons — and a book. Then they get Heifer bees or chicks. They can’t start too young learning what the holidays are really about.
    Wndrful new custom you’ve begun.

    Reply
  39. This is wonderful and wise.
    My own grandkids live far away in a tiny little house. They have no room for more “stuff”.
    So I give them something small and silly that gets used up — sculpy or those squishy water balloons — and a book. Then they get Heifer bees or chicks. They can’t start too young learning what the holidays are really about.
    Wndrful new custom you’ve begun.

    Reply
  40. This is wonderful and wise.
    My own grandkids live far away in a tiny little house. They have no room for more “stuff”.
    So I give them something small and silly that gets used up — sculpy or those squishy water balloons — and a book. Then they get Heifer bees or chicks. They can’t start too young learning what the holidays are really about.
    Wndrful new custom you’ve begun.

    Reply
  41. I hope all of us Wenches have beautiful holidays ahead of us. Some will be travelling, some (like me) staying cozy at home and catching up on our reading.
    Right now, I feel like I’m mostly cleaning house.
    Useful and necessary, but not terribly festive.
    I have gathered pine boughs in and bought a tiny little Christmas tree in a pot. Soon I will bring out the Christmas decorations and fall to.

    Reply
  42. I hope all of us Wenches have beautiful holidays ahead of us. Some will be travelling, some (like me) staying cozy at home and catching up on our reading.
    Right now, I feel like I’m mostly cleaning house.
    Useful and necessary, but not terribly festive.
    I have gathered pine boughs in and bought a tiny little Christmas tree in a pot. Soon I will bring out the Christmas decorations and fall to.

    Reply
  43. I hope all of us Wenches have beautiful holidays ahead of us. Some will be travelling, some (like me) staying cozy at home and catching up on our reading.
    Right now, I feel like I’m mostly cleaning house.
    Useful and necessary, but not terribly festive.
    I have gathered pine boughs in and bought a tiny little Christmas tree in a pot. Soon I will bring out the Christmas decorations and fall to.

    Reply
  44. I hope all of us Wenches have beautiful holidays ahead of us. Some will be travelling, some (like me) staying cozy at home and catching up on our reading.
    Right now, I feel like I’m mostly cleaning house.
    Useful and necessary, but not terribly festive.
    I have gathered pine boughs in and bought a tiny little Christmas tree in a pot. Soon I will bring out the Christmas decorations and fall to.

    Reply
  45. I hope all of us Wenches have beautiful holidays ahead of us. Some will be travelling, some (like me) staying cozy at home and catching up on our reading.
    Right now, I feel like I’m mostly cleaning house.
    Useful and necessary, but not terribly festive.
    I have gathered pine boughs in and bought a tiny little Christmas tree in a pot. Soon I will bring out the Christmas decorations and fall to.

    Reply
  46. That video chat sounds so wonderful. It brings tears to my eyes.
    I lived and worked overseas for many years and was never home for Christmas. How I wish we had had Skype or its equivalent in those days.

    Reply
  47. That video chat sounds so wonderful. It brings tears to my eyes.
    I lived and worked overseas for many years and was never home for Christmas. How I wish we had had Skype or its equivalent in those days.

    Reply
  48. That video chat sounds so wonderful. It brings tears to my eyes.
    I lived and worked overseas for many years and was never home for Christmas. How I wish we had had Skype or its equivalent in those days.

    Reply
  49. That video chat sounds so wonderful. It brings tears to my eyes.
    I lived and worked overseas for many years and was never home for Christmas. How I wish we had had Skype or its equivalent in those days.

    Reply
  50. That video chat sounds so wonderful. It brings tears to my eyes.
    I lived and worked overseas for many years and was never home for Christmas. How I wish we had had Skype or its equivalent in those days.

    Reply
  51. I was truly surprised when I went looking for “old, old Christmas stories” and found out about the English ghost story tradition.
    In general, story telling round the fire seems to have been a lively art.There wasn’t much light. Evening darkness rolled in about five pm. The rooms beyond the parlour and the kitchen were barely heated.
    Makes you understand all those Romantic meet-cutes where the stranger shows up on the doorstep in the snow and they invite him into the parlour.
    It’s not just kindliness to strangers. They’re probably bored to their back teeth.

    Reply
  52. I was truly surprised when I went looking for “old, old Christmas stories” and found out about the English ghost story tradition.
    In general, story telling round the fire seems to have been a lively art.There wasn’t much light. Evening darkness rolled in about five pm. The rooms beyond the parlour and the kitchen were barely heated.
    Makes you understand all those Romantic meet-cutes where the stranger shows up on the doorstep in the snow and they invite him into the parlour.
    It’s not just kindliness to strangers. They’re probably bored to their back teeth.

    Reply
  53. I was truly surprised when I went looking for “old, old Christmas stories” and found out about the English ghost story tradition.
    In general, story telling round the fire seems to have been a lively art.There wasn’t much light. Evening darkness rolled in about five pm. The rooms beyond the parlour and the kitchen were barely heated.
    Makes you understand all those Romantic meet-cutes where the stranger shows up on the doorstep in the snow and they invite him into the parlour.
    It’s not just kindliness to strangers. They’re probably bored to their back teeth.

    Reply
  54. I was truly surprised when I went looking for “old, old Christmas stories” and found out about the English ghost story tradition.
    In general, story telling round the fire seems to have been a lively art.There wasn’t much light. Evening darkness rolled in about five pm. The rooms beyond the parlour and the kitchen were barely heated.
    Makes you understand all those Romantic meet-cutes where the stranger shows up on the doorstep in the snow and they invite him into the parlour.
    It’s not just kindliness to strangers. They’re probably bored to their back teeth.

    Reply
  55. I was truly surprised when I went looking for “old, old Christmas stories” and found out about the English ghost story tradition.
    In general, story telling round the fire seems to have been a lively art.There wasn’t much light. Evening darkness rolled in about five pm. The rooms beyond the parlour and the kitchen were barely heated.
    Makes you understand all those Romantic meet-cutes where the stranger shows up on the doorstep in the snow and they invite him into the parlour.
    It’s not just kindliness to strangers. They’re probably bored to their back teeth.

    Reply
  56. It sounds just lovely.
    I’ve always enjoyed doing puzzles and they’re exactly the sort of thing that would have filled the table in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century parlours for after dinner games.
    My own Christmases have been daytime affairs, starting as soon as it got light in the morning. Presents. Helping cook. Football. Dinner early in the afternoon. …

    Reply
  57. It sounds just lovely.
    I’ve always enjoyed doing puzzles and they’re exactly the sort of thing that would have filled the table in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century parlours for after dinner games.
    My own Christmases have been daytime affairs, starting as soon as it got light in the morning. Presents. Helping cook. Football. Dinner early in the afternoon. …

    Reply
  58. It sounds just lovely.
    I’ve always enjoyed doing puzzles and they’re exactly the sort of thing that would have filled the table in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century parlours for after dinner games.
    My own Christmases have been daytime affairs, starting as soon as it got light in the morning. Presents. Helping cook. Football. Dinner early in the afternoon. …

    Reply
  59. It sounds just lovely.
    I’ve always enjoyed doing puzzles and they’re exactly the sort of thing that would have filled the table in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century parlours for after dinner games.
    My own Christmases have been daytime affairs, starting as soon as it got light in the morning. Presents. Helping cook. Football. Dinner early in the afternoon. …

    Reply
  60. It sounds just lovely.
    I’ve always enjoyed doing puzzles and they’re exactly the sort of thing that would have filled the table in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century parlours for after dinner games.
    My own Christmases have been daytime affairs, starting as soon as it got light in the morning. Presents. Helping cook. Football. Dinner early in the afternoon. …

    Reply
  61. Enjoyed your post very much. What is Heifer? Sounds like a charity I would be interested in. Hubby and I have no children and we are just us two but we do like to decorate for Christmas and put up a tree and lots of lights. This year we are feeding and, hopefully befriending two stray cats.

    Reply
  62. Enjoyed your post very much. What is Heifer? Sounds like a charity I would be interested in. Hubby and I have no children and we are just us two but we do like to decorate for Christmas and put up a tree and lots of lights. This year we are feeding and, hopefully befriending two stray cats.

    Reply
  63. Enjoyed your post very much. What is Heifer? Sounds like a charity I would be interested in. Hubby and I have no children and we are just us two but we do like to decorate for Christmas and put up a tree and lots of lights. This year we are feeding and, hopefully befriending two stray cats.

    Reply
  64. Enjoyed your post very much. What is Heifer? Sounds like a charity I would be interested in. Hubby and I have no children and we are just us two but we do like to decorate for Christmas and put up a tree and lots of lights. This year we are feeding and, hopefully befriending two stray cats.

    Reply
  65. Enjoyed your post very much. What is Heifer? Sounds like a charity I would be interested in. Hubby and I have no children and we are just us two but we do like to decorate for Christmas and put up a tree and lots of lights. This year we are feeding and, hopefully befriending two stray cats.

    Reply
  66. Heifer International is an organization that helps people in need, in areas of livestock and agriculture. They started by donating animals, as well as support and training in raising the animals. The recipients agree to give the first offspring of those animals to a neighbor.
    Now the organization has spread to include sustainability, ecology, education of girls.

    Reply
  67. Heifer International is an organization that helps people in need, in areas of livestock and agriculture. They started by donating animals, as well as support and training in raising the animals. The recipients agree to give the first offspring of those animals to a neighbor.
    Now the organization has spread to include sustainability, ecology, education of girls.

    Reply
  68. Heifer International is an organization that helps people in need, in areas of livestock and agriculture. They started by donating animals, as well as support and training in raising the animals. The recipients agree to give the first offspring of those animals to a neighbor.
    Now the organization has spread to include sustainability, ecology, education of girls.

    Reply
  69. Heifer International is an organization that helps people in need, in areas of livestock and agriculture. They started by donating animals, as well as support and training in raising the animals. The recipients agree to give the first offspring of those animals to a neighbor.
    Now the organization has spread to include sustainability, ecology, education of girls.

    Reply
  70. Heifer International is an organization that helps people in need, in areas of livestock and agriculture. They started by donating animals, as well as support and training in raising the animals. The recipients agree to give the first offspring of those animals to a neighbor.
    Now the organization has spread to include sustainability, ecology, education of girls.

    Reply

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