It used to be December was all about Santa Claus, but in recent years, North Americans are rediscovering Santa’s European sidekick. Krampus (who actually derives from Pagan mythology) is said to have accompanied Saint Nick on the evening of December 5th, leaving switches and coal for the bad children (or even abducting and torturing them) while Santa left presents for the good kids (hey, dude’s got a heavy workload as it is, why not contract out the beatings and torment?).
Krampus is now celebrated in parades, baked good and greeting cards. Here are some of my favourite Krampus images.
In the picture above, Krampus seems to have stopped for a snack with the children, and with the oranges and candies in his basket, it’s hard to tell if he’s really as mean as he seems.
Sometimes Krampus is too cute for his own good.
Here, Krampus looks more like Edward Gorey’s The Uninvited Guest, and the child, who can’t possibly have been bad at so young an age, seems nonplussed by his presence.
Krampus didn’t just take the bad children, he took the bad women too. So lest you’re thinking about getting uppity and disobeying your husband, just know, Krampus is coming for you. (Which makes me wonder if the character Papa Lazarou from The League of Gentlemen – he of the pegs and the stealing of wives – is meant to be a Krampus-like symbol.)
Sometimes though, Krampus gets more than he’s bargained for.
It is tradition to make cookies and bread in the form of Krampus, to be eaten on Saint Nicholas Day.
And Lindt makes a chocolate version, likely only available in Europe, which is too bad, because a chocolate Krampus would be awesome!
Wash it all down with a Krampus beer.
And while I’ve come across some fun Krampus t-shirts and there’s that ugly Krampus sweater making the social media rounds, you can be the star of any holiday party in your very own Krampus fez.
In my search for Krampus images, I came across this piece by the amazing artist Christopher Bonnette on his site Macula Art where you can also download the pattern for a paper Krampus.
And with a kiss from Krampus, I wish you a Happy Krampus Day!