I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. Over a year. Ever since last summer as I sat in hot weather wearing shorts and a t-shirt playing Christmas music to keep me in the mood to write my brand-new book, The Fright Before Christmas: Surviving Krampus and Other Yuletide Monsters. The wait is finally over! The book officially launches today. You can now get a copy on Amazon or wherever books are sold. I’m also thrilled to announce the audiobook version is also available. Narrated by yours truly!
This is not your typical holiday book. If you love Christmas… this is the book for you. If you hate Christmas… then this is the book for you. Christmas was born in darkness. It’s always been centered on the Winter Solstice. Though the holiday has gone by many names: Saturnalia, Yule, Midwinter, and Christmas, no matter what you call it, this is a dark and dangerous time where we in northern climates commune with each other, we give gifts, and we feast in fellowship because we know we’ll need each other to get through the long winter ahead.
We see that winter kills everything in the landscape: the trees are skeletal and bare, the grass and flowers are dead, the ponds and lakes are frozen into an eerie stillness. And we worry if the sun is going to disappear forever. We hunker down and light candles to illuminate the long, dark night. And we hang branches from the mighty evergreen to protect us from the bad spirits outside trying to get in. And in that cold darkness there be monsters lurking! By now you’ve likely heard of Krampus with his horns, long forked tongue, covered in chains, and carrying a sack to snatch up naughty children, but he’s far from alone. There are many other creatures we need to fear around the solstice, like the Gryla from Iceland, the Karakoncolos from Bulgaria, Père Fouettard from France, Hans Trapp from Austria, the Belsnickel from Germany, and many others.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve grown more Scroogey in my ways, I’ve come to view Christmas as too commercial, a real humbug. But after diving deep through the backstory of this biggest of holidays, I found meaning I didn’t know was there. In short, I saved Christmas if only for myself. I found redemption in the monsters in the darkness, in understanding that sometimes the light in all of that darkness has to be me.
I’m asking for your support on this one. I know the Halloween season is just warming up, but what’s our favorite Halloween/Christmas movie of all time? The Nightmare Before Christmas of course! We can appreciate that film from late September right through January. I’m asking you to shelve my new book right next to that movie. To take it out when you need a fright, and you just may find yourself hanging your wreath this year with more purpose. This holiday truly is transformative if you let the magic seep in.
Besides, I’m guessing many of you are already on the naughty list anyway. You might as well understand what you’re up against!