AtmosFX Haunted Holidays: Creating A Christmas Carol at Home

December 08, 2017 | Posted in How-to, News

It is no surprise to us that fans of AtmosFX have been looking for ways to creatively merge their love of decorating for Halloween and the Christmas season. In fact, we have been getting requests for this type of thing for what seems like forever. Or, at least, what seems like 1843. 

That, of course, was the year Charles Dickens published his famous holiday tale, “A Christmas Carol.” We can’t imagine there are many people who don’t know this story but, if you don’t, Dickens’ original title details why the story is such fertile ground for AtmosFX fans: “A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost-Story of Christmas.”

Given the wide array of Victorian-era ghosts in the AtmosFX arsenal, we think a clever digital decorator will be able to put together a pretty convincing “Christmas Carol” display.

Set the mood with some Victorian-era carolers singing classic favorites like Here We Come A Wassailing and then maybe set a snowy night scene on your window or wall.

If you don't have an actual fireplace, perhaps set the TV or monitor to Holiday Hearth or Festive Fireplace to give your home the perfect wintertime touch.

Now, onto the story. For those who haven’t read the story since middle school, it goes a little like this: On Christmas eve, Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley.

Marley says he’s too much a — uh — scrooge during Christmas, and needs to lighten up. So, Scrooge's former partner sends three Christmas ghosts - Past, Present and Future - to scare a little good cheer into the miserly ol’ grouch.

For those who’d like to portray part, or the whole, of this classic tale in their display, the AtmosFX Digital Decorations Bone ChillersGhostly Apparitions, Macabre Manor and Phantasms should get you most of the way there. 

Jacob Marley’s Ghost

The first ghost of Dickens’ tale is the former business partner of Ebenezer Scrooge. We like to use “Wrathful Wraith” in Ghostly Apparitions for this role. He looks the part — including looking significantly worn down after years of working with Scrooge. Yes, it is true that, in Dickens’ tale, this ghost is bound in heavy chains. But who really remembers this? We’re trading flames for chains here – which is similarly burdensome for the ghost. And if anyone points out this revision, simply praise them for reading the book and pass them another egg nog.

Ghost of Christmas Past

You have some flexibility when portraying the first Christmas ghost – in all the film and TV adaptations, the ghost had been characterized both male and female, young and old, beautiful and ugly. We are going to go with the “Seductive Siren” from Phantasms – her ephemeral nature makes her a great spirit to lure ol’ Ebenezer down memory lane. Another option, for similar reasons, could be “Beckoning Beauty” from Ghostly Apparitions.

Ghost of Christmas Present

Dickens referred to this spirit as a “jolly giant,” and the character is commonly associated with Father Christmas. Sure, you could use “Singing Santa” from Night Before Christmas and stay mostly thematic but, it may confuse people. We suggest using “Head of the House” from Ghostly Apparitions instead. Sure, he’s hardly jolly but he is a giant!

Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

For this one, you can choose either “Wicked Wraith” from Phantasms or the more traditional "Fear the Reaper" from Bone Chillers. This spirit was intended to be the scariest of Dickens’ creations, and has been often associated with the Grim Reaper. The hooded shroud of the Phantasms creature portrays exactly what Dickens was going for — a dark terrifying spirit who was sure to make ol’ Ebenezer rethink his ways.

Bonus: The Cratchit Family

For those who want extra credit: Consider using Macabre Manor’s “Family Unit 2” to portray the family once burdened by Scrooge’s crankiness. This, of course, is the famed Tiny Tim’s family, who is saved by Scrooge’s change of heart. The family dancing together suggests joyful occasion, and the fact that Tiny Tim can actually dance without his crutches helps, too. End with the "Victorian" Tree from Virtual Christmas Trees and you have a complete story with a beginning, middle, and merriment.

How would you create a story-themed evening AtmosFX Digital Decorations? Share your ideas in the comments below!

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