5 Dark Holiday Stories To Cure Your Christmas Cheer

by Erika W. Smith

Do you find sickly sweet Christmas stories ho-ho-hum? We’ve rounded up five holiday stories that aren’t so warm and fuzzy.

1. “The Little Match Girl”by Hans Christian Andersen

This is one of the most disturbing classic Christmas stories ever. Separate it from the kid-friendly adaptations, and this is what you get: an impoverished, abused child hallucinates as she freezes to death. Heartwarming!

2. The Haunted Man And The Ghost’s Bargain by Charles Dickens

This novella shares some similarities with A Christmas Carol, but it’s not as cheery. In this version, a brooding chemistry teacher is visited by his ghostly doppelganger and exchanges his bad memories for bitterness and anger, which spreads to everyone around him. Merry Christmas!

3. Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

You won’t find a single cheery story in David Sedaris’ collection of Christmas-themed essays. Along with his famous essay “SantaLand Diaries,” which chronicles his time working as a Christmas elf at Macy’s, Holidays on Ice includes a Christmas letter with only bad news, a scathing review of a grade school Christmas pageant, and a battle of holiday generosity.

4. “Dark Christmas” by Jeanette Winterson

Winterson — known for books including Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit andSexing The Cherry – published a spooky, Christmas-themed ghost story at the Guardian last year. If you love it, Winterson has several other Christmas short stories available to read on her website.

5. “Nicholas Was…” by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is an expert at twisting fairy tales into something horrifying and unrecognizable, and he did the same to Santa Claus in this short story. It begins, “Nicholas Was…older than sin, and his beard could grow no whiter. He wanted to die.”

Image: The Little Match Girl, Illustrated by Rachel Isadora

More from BUST

7 Books For Girls Who Travel

This Video Shows How Disturbing ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ Really Is

3 Cuban Cocktail Recipes To Make Your Winter A Little Better

You may also like

Get the print magazine.

The best of BUST in your inbox!

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

About Us

Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

©2023 Street Media LLC.  All Right Reserved.