The Dark Side of Christmas

 Around here, worst case scenario, naughty children can expect a lump of coal in their stockings in lieu of presents. Santa's kind of a pushover like that. Not so for children expecting a visit from Saint Nicholas. Apparently, traditionally speaking, Good Saint Nick has a rather nasty sidekick, Krampus.

 Krampus is a sort of anti-Santa, a demon who comes to punish children who misbehave during the year. Krampus Night is celebrated on the eve of St. Nicholas Day in Europe, particularly in Austria. NPR's Peter Crimmins writes, "The Krampus is a character from European Alpine folklore, common in Austria and Switzerland. The creature stands on two hooves and has horns growing out of its skull. An extremely long tongue hangs out of its mouth, and it carries a basket to haul away naughty children. For hundreds of years, the Krampus and Saint Nicholas have worked a kind of good cop-bad cop routine. Saint Nick rewards the good children; Krampus terrorizes the bad. " 

How would you like to go to this cheery parade on Christmas Eve?


  1. LOL! I have a confession. The entire time I was reading this post, all I could picture was ... EEEEEWWWW ... Gene Simmons. BWAHAHAHA.

  2. Bless, he looks quite cuddly in that second from bottom pic. Santa in the top picture looks like Richard Branson :o*

  3. This explains SO much about my (Austrian) father!

  4. He seems to be popping up quite a bit this year somehow, I had to design a Krampus card this season for someone! http://www.pseudooctopus.com/2011/10/princess-and-krampus.html

    He's sort of growing on me, strangely enough. These vintage images you've found of him are incredible!

  5. ...Oh my goodness. That's enough right there to scare anyone straight. *giggle* ;o)

    ...I have to agree with 'Kai' up there, Gene Simmons did cross my mind. *shudders*

    ...All I know is I'm glad we didn't have that as a tradition when I was growing up. That's the stuff nightmares are made of. :o\

    ...Blessings :o)

  6. He is part of our rich tradition of scaring the living daylights out of our kids just before sending them to bed. In another version there are two black hunchbacks who accompany St Nick. They carry big cudgels and a sack to put naughty children in. They then beat the sack with the sticks as punishment for bad behaviour.

    Explains a lot about us over here! :-)

  7. Good lord! It's the tongue that gets me. Forget about giving little children nightmares...I'm going to be afraid to go to sleep tonight! ;o)

  8. Thanks for the Krampus posts...I was brought up on stories of Krampus from my Austrian and Russian parents..both had different tales to tell and every Christmas I looked forward to their stories..I've written them down and hopefully one day I'll make my stop_motion animation movie!

  9. Anonymous12/14/2011

    I never heard of Krampuss before thank you for sharing this post.
    I hope you do not mind but I had to share this as well so did a post based on yours. You can have a look here:

    Thank you so much


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