Christmas. Chanukah, Yule, Saturnalia, heck, even Festivus. (I'm with Liz on yesterday's post. Didn't care for Seinfeld but LOVED Festivus.) What is it about those holidays that makes them lend themselves to the supernatural? As a paranormal romance author, I spend all year writing about impossible things. Still, even for me, there’s something about this time of year that seems to give me extra license.
I’d argue that a lot of it goes back to our primitive instincts. There are reasons so many cultures have holidays that coincide with the natural cycles of the Earth. Here in the northern hemisphere, October through December is the time when days get colder and nights get longer. Survival itself became more of a challenge, so of course beliefs sprang up to both acknowledge the darkness and danger, and to encourage hope. If magic/miracles can happen, then maybe we have a chance to get through the winter. From harvest through solstice, we see a strong focus on the inexplicable in both folklore and religion around the world.
I honestly think those same urges and instincts are part of why there is so much of the mystical even in our secular celebrations of the holiday season, and why paranormal fiction gains so much in popularity during the darkness of the year. This isn’t a new thing, either. Dickens, who wrote straightforward contemporary fiction for the most part, gave us a ghost story for Christmas. In modern holiday tales, we have Santa and his elves sharing time with talking snowmen, the Grinch, and flying reindeer. Thanksgiving, our celebration of family and harvest, doesn’t have a lot of magic associated with it, but maybe that’s because the harvest, and the joyous family get-together are considered miraculous enough in themselves.
Face it, as human beings, we crave the idea that there’s more to the universe than just the here and now, and the colder and darker it is, the more we’re comforted by that. It’s the time of year when our distant ancestors huddled around the fire and told stories to entertain each other. Is it so surprising then that we long to curl up with a good book and a blanket? And if that book is something just a little bit out of the ordinary, with maybe a seasonal touch as well, then all the better for whiling away a long winter’s night.
You can find out more about me and my work at the links below. Most of my books are paranormal, and even some of my “contemporary” or “historical” titles have paranormal touches. I have a couple of erotic holiday stories out with Ellora’s Cave, with more than a touch of that seasonal magic.
Whichever holidays you celebrate, may they be full of love and magic!