Everyone has heard of Santa Claus, the red-suited man who sneaks down chimneys to leave presents for kids under the Christmas tree. There’s another holiday character that visits children, but this one isn’t so nice. “You better be good, for goodness sake!” has a whole new meaning when you take this Yuletide monster into consideration.
WHAT IS IT
The krampus is a dark and hairy half-goat, half-demon with a long tongue, fangs, goat horns, and cloven feet. Thought to be an anti-Santa Claus, he visits misbehaving children and brings them coal and sticks, sometimes swatting them with birch branches and kidnapping them by putting them in his large sack and taking them for further punishment. Some representations describe the krampus carrying a chain.
It is believed this creature dates back to Pre-Christian Alpine times. Maurice Bruce published an article in 1958 describing the creature as the “Horned God of the Witches”. In 16th century Germany, masked devils caused havoc around Christmastime, and Medieval church plays had masked animal devil appearances. By the 17th century, the krampus became a part of Christian traditions. The chain could be a representation of “binding the devil”.
The krampus seems to be getting more popular lately, with more posts on Facebook and gifts being sold through places such as Faerie Magazine’s website. In Season 3 of Grimm, the episode “The Twelve Days of Krampus” naturally features a scary version of the krampus attacking a kid who had just stolen presents from a woman he passed on his skateboard.
Pretty brutal. But other movies featuring the krampus are even more terrifying. Like this:
Krampus can be found as the character in some horror books as well. In Krampus: The Yule Lord, a West Virginia Songwriter has the misfortune of getting mixed up in a fight between this monster and a not-that-innocent Santa Claus for Christmas. Michael Dougherty writes a graphic novel, Krampus: the Shadow of Saint Nicholas, consisting of morality tales that continue the myth.
Krampus is a creature that inspires horror stories, but what if it wasn’t all that scary? Try writing a story in which the Krampus is actually friendly, or even better, it wants to be mean and punish kids but it just isn’t scary enough and no one takes it seriously.