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?