You know what our favorite thing about Christmas is? TV of course!! And ghost stories.
Ghosts and Christmas go together like weenies and beans. Soap and towels. Cat pee and Grandma. Brain-death and DirectTV. Puberty and shame. Prom and a bucket of blood.
Christmas is tied to ghosts almost as strongly as Halloween, thanks only in part to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Christmas arrives as the year dies. Morning arrives late, night falls early, life is at its lowest ebb… as are our attention spans and tolerance for long-winded, meandering stories about the human heart’s capacity for love, forgiveness, and kindness. And for this utter lack of patience, we blame Charles Dickens. Thanks, Chuck!
But imagine it’s just a century or two ago, and you’re sitting by the hearth on a cold winter’s night, the only illumination coming from the the fire, the lanterns, candles and the monks sitting in the corner doing their fancy parchment work. In those days, you couldn’t get away from those pesky light-bearing monks and their gold ink. In fact, that’s why, to this day, a group of the little bald-headed fellows is referred to as an “infestation of monks.”
And if you were insane, of course, you had candlelight from your Christmas tree. Fire insurance must have been outrageously expensive back then. Instead of checking to see if you qualify for safe driver bonuses, they would have checked to see how many houses you’ve burned down in the past five years. It’s pretty ridiculous that OSHA didn’t step in, really, but who are we to judge?
Anyway, we take light for granted. In 1788 London, where our Ravencrest holiday tale is set, there was no electricity for light and heat. There was only candle and lantern light besides the hearth and, of course, the glow of your own healthy skin, which was obtained because there was no Burger King and you had no choice but to eat your fresh fruits and vegetables, of which there were none, since it was winter; the gas lamp was around the corner, but it would be decades before many houses had this luxury. And microwaves. And hot rollers. These things came much later.
Imagine the dark, whether in a city, the countryside, or within the syphilis-soaked confines of the local opium den-turned-cathouse. There were orders for every house facing the street to put out at least one lantern from 6 pm to 11 pm to illuminate the way for passersby – you were fined a shilling if you didn’t comply. That was almost the same cost as a reasonably-priced hooker with the majority of her teeth! And inside the house, there was never enough light to illuminate the dark corners where ghosts hide.
And there were ghosts everywhere. Seriously. In fact, every time you sneezed, it meant there was a ghost nearby, hence the expression, Bless You. In those days there were no television psychics to help our loved ones into the light, so it wasn’t uncommon to find misguided phantoms tangled in your hair, wandering aimlessly through your outhouses, inadvertently devouring your child’s soul, or even getting stuck betwixt your teeth after breast-stroking through your porridge. And this is why Goldilocks had to go for a walk that fateful day. Ghosts hate really hot porridge.
And speaking of hot porridge, we have compiled a list of our favorite Christmas ghosts on television because we feel very strongly that ghosts on television are taken for granted these days.
Imagine the 1700s, when all you got were 12 basic channels and every single one of them was just another live broadcast chronicling the various stages of construction of Marie Antoinette’s latest obnoxious hairstyle. And if you didn’t want to see her hair in that particular phase of styling, you had to physically bitch and ring a bell in your maidservant’s general direction to get her to change the channel. Seriously. Times were hard. But now, since television is less of a hassle to watch and has gone on to invade every single possible fucking aspect of our lives, up to and including the most sacred of holidays, here is our list. Do take take note that we’ve only included what we, as horror writers, enjoy. You will find very little in the way of warm fuzziness here. Yeah, baby. Let’s get on with this. We’ll mark our favorites with a star. Like this* And we will bold it, too. Like this. Except it will be italicized. Like this.
SUPERNATURAL (Netflix Streaming)
*A Very Supernatural Christmas (Season 3, Episode 8)
(This episode is contains pure horror satisfaction – and a lot of blood)
THE X-FILES (Netflix Streaming)
*How the Ghosts Stole Christmas, Season 6 Episode 6
(A modern classic.)
FAMILY GUY (Netflix Streaming)
A Very Special Family Guy Freakin’ Christmas
*Road to the North Pole
Jesus, Mary & Joseph
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (Netflix Streaming)
Amends: Season 3, Episode 10 Amends (15 Dec. 1998)
SOUTH PARK (Available Free on-line)
*Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo
It’s Christmas in Canada
Starvin Marvin in Space
Red Sleigh Down
Woodland Critter Christmas Season
Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics
Merry Christmas Charlie Manson
A Very Crappy Christmas Season
BOB’S BURGERS (Netflix Streaming)
Bob’s Burgers: Father of the Bob
AMERICAN DAD (Netflix Streaming)
The Polarizing Express (2010)
Eureka (Netflix Streaming)
*O Little Town
*Do You See What I See?
Warehouse 13 (Netflix Streaming)
*Seasons of Belief
*The Yattering and Jack
Let Your Hair Down
Twelve Days of Krampus
The Grimm Who Stole Christmas
TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE
Seasons of Belief
The Yattering and Jack
THE COSBY SHOW (pure horror!)
Getting to Know You