Christmas is generally a pretty jolly holiday but it wasn’t that long ago that it was a time for spooky stories told around the fire, which makes sense. Historically when Christmas came around it was cold, dark, and everybody had to stay inside, so it’s nice to know some things haven’t changed. And a lot of seasonal traditions come from pagan celebrations of the solstice,and while most of the pagans I know aren’t scary people the gradually diminishing daylight as we approach the shortest day of the year. The ghosts in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol are part of a long tradition, one that also gets a nod in Dylan Thomas’s A Child’s Christmas In Wales when he says, “Bring out the tall tales now that we told by the fire as the gaslight bubbled like a diver,” and for me no Christmas is complete without Scrooged. Doctor Who even got into the act with several Christmas specials culminating in Voyage Of The Damned in 2007 and the joke that everybody but the Queen was getting out of London until the holiday was over.
When I was a student in England Halloween was barely acknowledged, but at Christmas we had a costume ball, which was apparently more traditional, and I think we should embrace that on this side of the pond if it means two times a year when we can dress up and tell scary stories.
So I loved reading a story of a woman who got a series of notes from a “Karen” neighbor that her gargoyle statue was “not appropriate”. And of course it escalated quickly and hilariously with more decorations being added and “Karen” threatening to report the display to the local homeowners’ association and the mayor.
I’m pretty sure having a neighbor with no sense of humor is as scary as it gets.