Krampus, Christmas’ Abhorrent Monster

by Tyler Feinstein

Christmas is a holiday filled with plenty of fantastical tales that are home to a myriad of jolly, festive and friendly characters. Santa Claus, Mrs Claus, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman are among the most well recognized and beloved icons across all media and for good reason. They are embodiments of giving, generosity, and jolliness.

But what if I told you there was another Christmas character that embodied horror, punishment and discipline? It sounds unfathomable for a Christmas character right? Right? Wrong! The character goes by the name “Krampus” and he is here to do far worse than deliver lumps of coal. This terrifying goat humanoid hybrid monstrosity is most famous for punishing misbehaved children by clobbering them with bundles of birch sticks, whips or even chains. 

Punishment is even worse for the super rotten kids of the year as Krampus will snatch kids in his wooden basket to either devour them or bring them to Hell! Sheesh!! Talk about overkill.

Krampus’ Disturbing Origins

The Christmas Devil’s origins have yet to be pinpointed but according to most historians Krampus originated in Germany as early as the 1600s.

Krampus is often depicted as a terrifying goat humanoid devil with sharp horns on his head, an extremely elongated tongue, razor sharp teeth, dense hooves for feet, coated in black or brown fur and stands at a frightening 8 to 9 feet tall. He roams the streets late in the night equipped with a pitchfork, a bundle of birch sticks, a whip, chains wrapped around his body and a wooden basket strapped to his back. 

Quite the imposing figure to say the least. The tale of Krampus likely originated from parents to instill discipline in their kids for Christmas. If they wanted to scare the children into behaving properly then they definitely deserve an A+ in that endeavor. 

The Christmas Devil’s Diabolical Work

Krampus is the yin to Santa’s yang. While Santa Claus has a heart of gold and embodies giving, kindness and wonder, Krampus has a heart of darkness and instills terror and agony into ill behaved kids. He arrives on December 5th or “Krampusnacht” on the eve of Saint Nicholas day. It is unknown how Krampus infiltrated houses much like how Santa Claus climbs down the chimney. But what is known is if Krampus shows up to a house, the children are in for much worse than a few lumps of coal.

The Christmas Demon dishes out horrific agony and torture to everyone on the naughty list with his array of blunt objects and sometimes even snatches kids by either grabbing them by hand, pitchfork or chain and stuffs them in his wooden basket. Either to be sent to Hell or devoured. Not the way I would like to spend my Christmas. 

Krampus is quite the anomaly when it comes to the Christmas character roster. He sticks out like a sore thumb compared to his other jolly peers. His terrifying appearance, wicked tools, and his malicious nature make him truly unique among holiday characters. If this doesn’t convince you to stay off the naughty list then I don’t know what will.

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