Saturday, December 3, 2011

Storytelling at Christmastime

"There'll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago"-so goes the lyrics to a part of "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year," a popular Christmas song being played on the radio and in businesses now. I had never really noticed these words before and thought of them as odd. I don't usually associate Christmas with telling ghost stories-in fact, Christmas stories are notorious fpr being especially cheesy.

But as we've seen with fairy tales, often dark and disturbing tales have, over time, been turned into cutesy, "child appropriate" stories which are hardly anything like their ancestors. A lot of things tend to go this direction-that which is truly terrifying loses its power and becomes tamed; vampires, pirates, why not Christmas traditions as well? After all, one of the most popular Christmas stories of all times, Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," features four ghosts-but we now know the happy resolution so well the ghosts don't tend to phase us much.

John Leech

Maybe this year we should tell a few scary stories to balance out the feel good holiday stories we're bound to hear as well (not that feel good holiday stories don't have their place...)

1 comment:

  1. Oh, at least in Norway there are a lot of "scary" stories/legends connected to christmas. It must have been a way to make "You keep the tradition" in one specific way. Like if you have not baked cookies within a certain date, the horrifying "Aasgaardsreia" will get you etc. Out of this quite a lot of legends has risen.

    You have for instance the liturgy of death, a story you find in many variations in Scandinavia:

    WIth best merry christmas greetings from Heidi