Four Days To Christmas: Winter Solstice

From On Looking: A Walker’s Guide to the Art of Observation by Alexandra Horowitz:

“It was December twenty-first, the winter solstice. The business of being a pedestrian in the city had changed: any mosey that crept into people’s summer gait had been replaced by the determined fast stride of the winter walker. It was cold out, and I hunched my shoulders in a futile attempt to warm my ears and bully the chill away.”

From Winter Sunshine by John Burroughs:

“[It] may be later in the season, well into December. The days are equally bright, but a little more rugged. The mornings are ushered in by an immense spectrum thrown upon the eastern sky. A broad bar of red and orange lies along the low horizon, surmounted by an expanse of color in which green struggles with yellow and blue with green half the way to the zenith. By and by the red and orange spread upward and grow dim, the spectrum fades, and the sky becomes suffused with yellow white light…”

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Five Days To Christmas: The Bright Lights Are Coming From Inside The House!!

From NOS4A2 by Joe Hill:

Without any warning, the great Christmas tree lit all at once, and a thousand electric candles illuminated the children gathered around it.

“A few sat in the lowest branches, but most — perhaps as many as thirty — stood beneath the boughs, in nightdresses and furs and ball gowns fifty years out of date and Davy Crockett hats and overalls and policeman uniforms. At first glance they all seemed to be wearing delicate masks of white glass, mouths fixed in dimpled smiles, lips too full and too red. Upon closer inspection the masks resolved into faces. The hairline cracks in these faces were veins, showing through translucent skin; the unnatural smiles displayed mouths filled with tiny, pointed teeth….

“One boy sat in a branch and held a serrated bowie knife as long as his forearm.

“One little girl dangled a chain with a hook on it.

“A third child … wielded a meat cleaver and wore a necklace of bloodied thumbs and fingers.

“Vic was now close enough to see the ornaments that decorated the tree. The sight forced the air out of her in hard, shocked breath. Heads: leather-skinned, blackened but not spoiled, preserved partially by the cold. Each face had holes where the eyes had once been. Mouths dangled open in silent cries. One decapitated head — a thin-faced man with a blond goatee — wore green-tinted glasses with heart-shaped, rhinestone-studded frames.


“Children began to spread out from beneath the tree … forming a human barricade…. Or inhuman barricade, as the case might be.”

This post’s title, in case you aren’t familiar with it, was appropriated from the classic 1979 horror movie When a Stranger Calls, starring Carol Kane. The movie has nothing to do with Christmas but the idea for this post and these crazy-ass photos got stuck in my head when I recently saw a reference to the line of dialogue “the call is coming from inside the house” from this movie.


NOS4A2, on the other hand, quoted above — Joe Hill‘s book and the recently released Hulu series — IS about Christmas, presenting a deliciously wicked version of the holidays that could only come from the mind of a blood-relative of Stephen King. 🙂

What would Christmas be without a wee bit of horror? or should I say ho!-ho!-horror?? Have you finished your shopping yet?

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Six Days To Christmas: Silver and Gold

From NOS4A2 by Joe Hill:

Looking out into the trees, Vic saw those glimmering lights again, slivers of brightness hung in the surrounding pines. It took a moment to make sense of what she was seeing, and when she did, she held up and stared. The firs around the house were hung with Christmas ornaments, hundreds of them, dangling from dozens of trees. Great silver and gold spheres, dusted with glitter, swayed in the drifting pine branches….”

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Seven Days To Christmas: Red and Green

From A Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd:

“One moment my brother and I were safely back in the Tricycle and Irish Mail department and the next instant we stood at the foot of Mount Olympus itself. Santa’s enormous gleaming white snowdrift of a throne soared ten or fifteen feet above our heads on a mountain of red and green tinsel carpeted with flashing Christmas-tree bulbs and gleaming ornaments. Each kid in turn was prodded up a tiny staircase at the side of the mountain on Santa’s left, as he passed his last customer on to his right and down a red chute — back into oblivion for another year.

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Eight Days To Christmas: Tiny Baubles

From “A Christmas Tree” in A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings by Charles Dickens:

“The tree was planted in the middle of a great round table, and towered high above their heads. It was brilliantly lighted by a multitude of little tapers; and everywhere sparkled and glittered with bright objects….

“There were rosy-cheeked dolls, hiding behind the green leaves; there were real watches (with movable hands … and an endless capacity of being wound up) dangling from innumerable twigs; there were French-polished tables, chairs, bedsteads, wardrobes, eight-day clocks, and various other articles of domestic furniture (wonderfully made, in tin), perched among the boughs, as if in preparation for some fairy housekeeping; there were jolly, broad-faced little men, much more agreeable in appearance than many real men — and no wonder, for their heads took off, and showed them to be full of sugar-plums; there were fiddles and drums; there were tambourines, books, work-boxes, paint-boxes, sweetmeat-boxes, peep-show boxes, all kinds of boxes; there were trinkets for the elder girls, far brighter than any grown-up gold and jewels; there were baskets and pincushions in all devices; there were guns, swords, and banners; there were witches standing in enchanted rings of pasteboard, to tell fortunes; there were teetotums, humming-tops, needle-cases, pen-wipers, smelling-bottles, conversation-cards, bouquet-holders; real fruit, made artificially dazzling with gold leaf; imitation apples, pears, and walnuts, crammed with surprises….

“[In] short, as a pretty child, before me, delightedly whispered to another pretty child, her bosom friend, ‘There was everything, and more.'”

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