Join the discussion.

Inklings News

Join the discussion.

Inklings News

Join the discussion.

Inklings News

The Twisted Santa Claus: Krampus Is Coming To Town

Graphic by Bryan Schiavone '13

We all know the basic story behind Santa Claus: if we are good children, we will be rewarded with toys and other presents, and, if we are naughty, we get a stocking full of coal. Simple enough.

Children of some Eastern European countries are not so lucky. If you are a child living in Austria, Hungary, or Germany and have not been particularly good in the past year, you have reason to expect a visit from Krampus.

According to legend, Krampus is the demonic assistant to St. Nicholas. While good old Santa is going around giving all the respectable children presents, Krampus is punishing all the misbehaving ones—whipping them, beating them, tossing them into fiery pits of Hell. The usual. His official day of “celebration” is Dec. 5, known as Krampus Night (or Krampusnacht in the original German), which is the eve of St. Nicholas Day.

Many men and women in these countries take it upon themselves to dress up as Krampus throughout the month of December. The costume consists of goat horns, sheep skin clothing, and a basket to carry on their backs (with which to carry the naughty children to take them back to Hell, of course).

Also to be expected are chains and bells that adorn the outfit, in order to further frighten the children.

On Krampus Night, these satanic impersonators partake in what is known as the “Krampus Run.” They run through the streets making all kinds of noise and reminding all what to expect if they forget to thank their mother for dinner.

Let’s all go ahead and admit it—this tradition is kind of awesome. There truly is no better way to get children to behave than with the threat of eternal damnation, especially one that involves a crazy goat-man named Krampus.

I suggest we introduce Krampus into American Christmas culture. Just imagine it: there will be a Krampus lurking behind every Santa charity collector on a city street, Krampus-themed holiday cards, maybe even some jolly Christmas carols about what will really happen if you misbehave (“he’ll take you with him back to Hell, so be good for goodness sake”).

So how do we begin?

Let us start in the most obvious place: at home, with the children. Place a threatening birch rod (another of Krampus’ favorite tools for beatings) under the tree amidst all the presents. Fill a stocking or two with some old rusty chains. Replace the yearly reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” with the ever-popular “Krampus: The Devil of Christmas” (easily found in a quick search on Amazon).

Perhaps you can convince Grandma to discard the snowman sweater and instead show off Krampus’ mighty horned face in knitted glory. Follow these simple steps and we can easily begin the popularization of this beloved Christmas character.

Because, remember, no holiday is complete without a hearty helping of fear.

View Comments (1)
More to Discover

Comments (1)

All Inklings News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • M

    Marc FrancoDec 29, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    Great article on Krampus. My latest novel is inspired by the ole Krampus devil himself.