I’m Dreaming of a Dark Christmas

I'm the first person to sit down with a cup of cocoa and a cheesy Christmas movie (Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas, anyone?), but after a surfeit of sweet films and books, a little sorbet is in order. Apparently, I'm not alone on this one, as there is a long tradition of Christmas Ghost Stories. Whether you want thrills or chills, here's a few titles to read while sipping apple cider and biting the head off your gingerbread man:

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon. A young woman comes to live in an old Vermont farmhouse, only to discover a rash of deaths and disappearances connected to the property. After her mother vanishes, 19-year-old Ruthie tries to unwind the truth and protect what's left of her family.

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. Part fairy tale, part historical novel, with a dash of magical realism, this strange tale is set in 1920s Alaska. A childless couple build a child of snow who disappears and is replaced by a real child who flits through the woods. The book explores the tension between the freedom of nature and the human need for society and companionship. A debut novel by an author to watch.

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill. A truly dark Christmas tale. As a child, Vic discovers she has the ability to find lost things by crossing an old bridge that can lead her wherever she wants to go. This brings her to the attention of Charles Manx, who also has strange abilities of a deadly kind. A chip off the old horror block, Hill uses some of his father's (Stephen King) classic scare tactics—creepy cars, children in trouble and a villain who literally refuses to die. Definitely one to curl up with—just leave the light on!

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