Sure, some may find it strange, or even sacreligious, to so prominently feature death and ghostly hauntings in a Christmas story, yet, I think not so much. Sometimes we highlight positives by juxtaposing them with negatives: through dwelling on the horror of Marley's wretched afterlife, we are able to share the joy of Scrooge's life and continuing ability to alter his fate. Dickens--as he always does so well--compels us to think about the social consequences of the wretched poverty of one family. Then, he allows us to share in their joy and in the joy of the giver who relieves that suffering.
We celebrate Christmas, a holiday all about giving precious, needed gifts to loved ones and to those in need, at the winter solstice, when nights are cold and food is growing scarce in nature. The cozy cottage on the Christmas card is cozy because the snow is driving outside the window. Happy birds flock to birdfeeders because food is scarce elsewhere. Evergreen indoors and out reminds us that spring, and a time of plenty, will come again--and, in the meantime, we treasure what we have and share what we can.
So I tend to think that Christmas has a special place in gothic--or almost gothic--literature. I'm saving a portrayal of Christmas at Mallace Mansion for the final book in the Trilogy. But I ended In Time with a description of holiday sharing with Carin.
With Carin, the reclusive role of the Mallace family heir opens to welcome others and and build a new sense of community. In The Legacy Series, this is best portrayed with holiday parties, and I think it has to do with an almost natural paradox between the lack and longing of the gothic hero/heroine and the portrayal of holiday bounty and generosity.Carin opened the door wide and was happy for the deep red wool sweater over her skirt and blouse as the blast of cold wind rushed through the entry. On the sideboard, vases of flowers and leaves and fresh greenery spread their scent through the house and candle flames guttered in surprise at the gust. Charlotte pulled the lapels of her heavy fur up over her ears as best she could with one free hand.“Carin, Happy Thanksgiving! So wonderful to see you, sweetheart!”“Please come in!” Carin grinned and brought Charlotte and Bobby into the house as quickly as she could.