Tonight is Krampusnacht! If you’ve never heard of Krampus before, never fear. I’m about to enlighten you. In Germany and other Alpine countries, Krampus is Santa’s evil sidekick, a cloven-hooved demon who punishes the kids on Santa’s naughty list.
But Krampus doesn’t settle for namby-pamby PSYOPS, like leaving a lump of coal in your stocking. Oh no. He’s handy swinging a birch switch, and that’s just his lighter side. Beatings, kidnapping, and shackles are more this dark satyr’s style.
So if the holiday season is getting a little too gooey sweet for you, here are five reasons why Krampus should migrate past the Alps.
1) To put the fear of Krampus into entitled post-millenials. I’m just going to say it: kids these days! And get off my lawn! Are there any American children who seriously fear receiving coal in their stocking? Fat chance. The precious darlings are convinced they deserve those X-boxes and cellphones and whatchamathingies. But not in Germany, where parents still understand the value of a little paranormal terror. And Krampus brings it. (Check out the Krampusnacht video below if you don’t believe me). According to Der Spiegel, “In some towns, kids are made to run a Krampus-gauntlet, dodging swats from tree branches.” Awesome. Ouch.
2) End the holiday blues – why do people get depressed over the holidays? Because their vision of holiday joy doesn’t match up with the reality of annoying relatives, crowded malls, and lackluster eggnog. This disconnect between “should be” and “what is” leads to an emotional disconnect.
The answer to this is simple: evil! We need a little darkness over the holiday season so we don’t get sucked into the illusion that our lives are a mess just because they’re not perfect. Or something. (This made sense when I was typing at midnight).
3) To fill the festival gap between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Remember when Halloween used to be just a kid’s holiday and then adults took it over with wild parties? Well, check out Krampusnacht on December 5th, ideally situated between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when adults are encouraged to make children tremble with fear. In short, it’s another excuse for adults to run amuck. In costume.
4) To remind us that the divine feminine isn’t all sweetness and light. According to Wikipedia, Krampus is associated with Freyja. I’m going to guess it’s either because he’s an evil Christmas demon who puts children in a sack and drags them off to hell, much like the Icelandic Christmas Troll, Gryla, who is also somehow associated with Freyja. It’s one of those if A is to B and B is to C then A is to C things. OR, it’s because Krampus hangs out with a similarly creepy female Alpine Christmas demon, Perchta, who is associated with Freyja. I think Wikipedia is using the word “associated” too loosely.
5) Vintage art! There are some marvelous vintage Krampus postcards out there. The prices are rising, but let’s face it: it’s tough to find reasonably priced vintage paranormal art. And if you’re tired of getting outbid for vintage Halloween postcards, you might be able to get in on the ground floor of this trend.
Or if you’re in to saucier stuff, in the 1960’s and 70’s Krampus pop-art the goat-footed demon leveraged his satyr image for some inter-species hanky panky, invading the bedrooms of scantily clad, buxom women. I couldn’t find any non-copywrite protected pictures of those for the blog, but, well, they’re out there.
About the Author
Kirsten Weiss writes genre-blending cozy mystery, urban fantasy, and steampunk suspense, mixing her experiences and imagination to create a vivid world of magic and mayhem.