Despite how fast Christmas is bearing down on us, I have to say I am really enjoying this month. I am staying put over the holidays, so it hasn't been as crazy as it usually would be and I'm so happy I don't have to travel. It means I get to do one of my favorite things - hole up at home! I've been hunkering down, writing, watching tons of movies and TV, reading, and just enjoying the spirit of the holidays. This month, I've also seen some recent projects come to fruition, which I'm pretty proud of.
I'm so glad I've been able to finish the year out on a high note. And as I do every month on these "ten things" posts, I'll be sharing some of my favorite things I experienced this December. This month, this includes the 13 days of Creepmas, a festive new perfume, oodles of holiday movies, some dark folklore, vegan sugar cookies, and more!
See my 10 Things I'm Loving This December below:
1.) 13 days of Creepmas - I had such a blast putting together posts for the first thirteen days of December, which is when a group of bloggers infuse some spooky spirit into the holidays with the 13 days of Creepmas! I loved reading others' post, and I am immensely proud of myself for posting every single day. I shared posts on Christmas monsters other than Krampus, holiday gift guides for the strange and unusual, Victorian ghost stories, holiday horror movie lists, dark Creepmas music, and much more! Check out all my Creepmas posts, past and present (I've been participating since 2011!!) HERE!
2.) You Might Be the Killer on Shudder - This horror-comedy starring Alyson Hannigan and Fran Kranz popped up on Shudder recently and I decided to give it go. I was surprised how utterly charming, clever, and fun it turned out to be!! It plays with horror tropes while still creating its own engaging story. If you haven't checked this out yet on Shudder, I highly recommend you do! You can also rent it or pre-order it on Blu-ray/DVD (it will be released February 2019) on Amazon.
3.) My new monthly column on Nightmare on Film Street - December saw my first "Shop 'Til You Drop...Dead" gift guide make its debut on Nightmare on Film Street's site! I have been reading this horror website and listening to the founders' podcast for some time now, so I was beyond excited when I was asked to contribute a monthly column. I'll be dropping a new one every month, so be sure to check back for another fun round-up of goodies for horror fans in January on Nightmare on Film Street.
4.) Red Rock Apothecary Fig Forest Perfume Oil - My sister picked up this delectable perfume in Sedona, Arizona while road tripping through the US, and I've been obsessed with it ever since. It smells like Christmas to me with it's mix of figs and evergreen trees! I was also gifted an Orange Blossom scent from the same company that I am equally obsessed with, but the Fig Forest one is what I've been wearing all December.
5.) Holiday horror movies on Shudder - I am loving the fantastic collection of Christmas horror films that Shudder currently has streaming, from classics like Black Christmas and Christmas Evil to newer titles like All The Creatures Were Stirring and Better Watch Out. I love that these kinds of movies are streaming, it saves me the trouble of pulling them out of my Blu-ray/DVD collection (haha...kinda joking, but not really since I am lazy AF)! Not to mention they give me that dose of holiday fear that I need to counteract all the holiday cheer (ick) that's floating around. Many of them are included on my 13 Days of Holiday Horror Movies post!
6.) Trader Joe's (vegan!) Twinkling Trees Sugar Coated Sugar Cookies - If you saw my round-up of vegan holiday finds from Trader Joe's, you know how obsessed I am with these sugar cookies! They debuted around Halloween as Glimmering Pumpkins, and they are back for the holidays in the shape of Christmas trees. They are so buttery, rich, and make such a nice afternoon treat (especially dunked in coffee!). If you served these to anyone, they would never guess they were vegan.
Lucia outside Skansen by H. Edlund, 1899 [source]
7.) Saint Lucy Day on December 13th - Saint Lucy (or Lucia) is a third century martyr who, according to legend, brought "food and aid to Christians hiding in the catacombs" using a candle-lit wreath to "light her way and leave her hands free to carry as much food as possible". In other tales she was a maiden who was persecuted for her Christian faith for refusing to marry a pagan. For this and her faith she was lit on fire, stabbed through the throat, and her eyes were gouged out, but still she would not die until she was finally given the Christian last rites. Other versions have her gouging her own eyes out after her pagan suitor complimented them, telling him to leave her to God. Her feast day is celebrated on December 13th with girls and women dressing in traditional white robes or dresses with a candle-lit wreath on their heads. Saffron sweet buns (which are studded with raisins to give them the appearance of eyes) are also baked and handed out. However, St. Lucy also has a darker side (as if that martyrdom wasn't enough). As I am obsessed with dark holiday folklore, this year I was excited to learn more about "Lussi" aka "dark Lucy", "bloody Lucy", or Lutzelfrau, a witch-like figure who carries a sickle or blade to disembowel people and flies through the air with her followers, Lussiferda (said to be the spirits of dead people), looking for people to punish. Thanks so much to Sarah Chavez for leading me down this fun folkloric rabbit hole! I find it all so fascinating and spent hours reading about St. Lucy.
8.) Death in the Afternoon podcast - Death in the Afternoon is a podcast written, researched, and developed by Caitlin Doughty, Sarah Chavez (yes, the same one mentioned above with Saint Lucy), and Louise Hung of The Order of the Good Death (who is also the team behind the Ask a Mortician YouTube series). They started this "deathcast" to dispel myths about death by exploring stories from the past and present, and I love hearing these intelligent, engaging women educate us on death, dying, dead bodies, and all things death-related. They explore so many different topics, from a mortician's perspective on the mortuary scenes in Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House to urban legends about crematory/embalming horrors and so much more! This month saw them wrap up season one, with nine episodes available for your listening pleasure, which you can listen to on iTunes, Spotify, and many more podcast platforms.
9.) Pooka! on Hulu - I love Hulu's new horror concept series, where we get a movie a month based on that month's holiday. Truth be told, the first two entries, The Body for Halloween and Flesh and Blood for Thanksgiving, were good but didn't really wow me. However, Pooka! completely blew me away and I absolutely loved it! It had some fun Christmas vibes and really threw me for a loop. I highly recommend you check it out this holiday season!
10.) Unreqvited - This month, when I haven't been listening to my Spooky Dark Christmas playlist, I've been listening to the one-man atmospheric black metal project called Unreqvited. The bio sums them up perfectly: "Depressive and uplifting; a journey of massive peaks and bottomless caves. Unreqvited's take on post-black metal is one that paints a canvas of musical diversity, with elements of expansive post-rock, tortured dsbm vocals, shimmering blackgaze melodies and grandiose orchestral segments." Their newest release, Mosaic I: L'amour Et L'ardeur, has ditched most of the dsbm (depressive suicidal black metal) elements and focuses more on orchestral elements, and manages to be both bleak and majestic. It is the perfect soundscape for December!
What are your favorite things from December?
Stay spooky and Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!