Episode 20: An Edwardian Christmas Story

Hello and welcome back to Breakfast with Mom!

Since we are in the holiday season, for the month of December, I thought we would do something different and go off script.  Instead of talking about historical true crime or discussing people and events we find interesting, for our December episodes I would like to talk about old forgotten traditions.  Today I want to read a Christmas ghost story, but before I read the ghost story I would like to give you a brief explanation of why we have Christmas ghost stories.  There are several Christmas ghost stories from Victorian times, one such story is “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens.  For this episode I will not be reading that story but another ghostly story, my resources and a link to the Christmas story can be found in the show notes. 

The English Victorians celebrated Christmas a little differently than we do today.  In Victorian England, Christmas was an opportunity to exchange gruesome stories of ghosts, evil spirits, and people gone mad.

According to Sara Cleto, an expert in folklore who spoke with History.com, Victorian-era ghost stories were ideal for an England night that was swathed in darkness. At night, with candles or a fire as the only light source, the atmosphere was perfect for a spooky story to kill time on a long winter’s night.  Part of the incentive to tell ghost stories was a belief that spirits had license for mischief on Christmas Eve—a kind of free play for ghosts before they were said to restrain themselves on the holy day to follow.  One such story is Smee (A Christmas Ghost Story) by AM Burrage, however this story was written in the Edwardian era but does pull from the preceding Victorian time period.