Reading Ghost Stories at Christmas...

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house 
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse... 

I recently stumbled upon this beautifully old-fashioned advice* on the proper way to consume ghost stories at Christmas:

"If during the Yule-tide you wish thoroughly to enter into the spirit of the season, procure a good tumblerful of creature-comfort, steaming, with a trifle of powdered nutmeg in it, some thin lemon peel, and a grain of sugar, place it on a small stand beside your old arm-chair, in which you will have comfortably deposited yourself, and well gently inhaling the Virginian fumes in the presence of a cheerful Yule-log fire commence reading the 'Ghost Stories of an Antiquary', by M.R. James… On rising to retire to bed, say, when the clock is striking the hour of midnight, you will be heartily glad of a brave companion, who will assist you in ascertaining that all bolts and bars are scrupulously fastened, that all doors are locked, that there are no weird arms coming out from behind any curtains."

*This advice was originally printed in the Special Collections’ edition of James's 'More Ghost Stories' in 1911. I read about it, and other spooky reading recommendations for Christmas, here.

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