On the dark side …
When it comes to Christmas folklore, most of us immediately think of Jolly Ol’ St. Nick – his white, fluffy beard, roly poly belly, and sack of toys and goodies for all the good children around the world. Ahhh, it just puts a smile on your face, doesn’t it? But on a coffee run to one of our favorite downtown cafes last week, we encounted the anti-Santa; the oh-so-evil dark counterpart to St. Nicholas. We did a double take, but sure enough, it was him. Seated in the corner in a fluffy, velvet chair, sipping a grande mocha caramel macchiato latte frappucino (most likely spiked with his own supply of Schnapps), looking surly as ever, was the holiday hell beast we’ve only read about in German folklore – the Krampus. For those of you unfamiliar with Krampus, he’s the dark companion to Santa. He has many names: Knecht Ruprecht, Certa, Perchten, Black Peter, Schmutzli, Pelznickel, Klaubauf, just to name a few. He’s usually seen as a classic devil with horns, cloven hooves and a tongue that would make Gene Simmons jealous, but he’s also been known to appear dressed all in black or as a big, old hairy man beast. Yep. Pretty sexy. And if his demonic appearance doesn’t scare you, well, his life’s work will. You see, while Santa thrives on rewarding those on the nice list, Krampus is here to punish those on the naughty list. He swats naughty children with switches and rusty chains and, as if that weren’t enough, he drags them in baskets to a fiery location below. If you’re into the darker side of the holiday season, you might want to consider celebrating Krampusnacht on Dec. 6, which is the eve of the Feast of St. Nicholas. Appropriate party attire consists of devil and witch costumes, and feel free to bear torches and run through the streets terrifying your neighbors. If you need some pointers on all this, keep reading. Our chat with this beast character was eye-opening to say the least. Meet the one and only (thank goodness) Krampus …
Krampus, you are a boozed up Germanic hell beast who used to roam the streets in December with Santa Clause back in the day, terrifying children and menacing buxom women. After years of bad PR, you’re back in the spotlight. Tell us how a hairy, long tongued demon with one cloven foot has made it on The Colbert Report, and into the hearts of Americans.
I think hipsters like me a lot.
You used to be part of one of the most successful holiday duos of all time with Santa Claus. What happened there? Did you two have some sort of falling out?
No, Santa and I are on good terms. Santa wanted to go global and I stayed behind in Germany, but I have always kept the records. The naughty list is all me.
Krampus, you smell…interesting. What is that aroma?
It’s Cinnamon Schnapps and tears! I love Schnapps, especially cinnamon, and you know I love tears.
OK. Moving on — I see that you have a decorative wicker basket with gold twigs on your back. What’s that about?
Do you like my basket? I menace children with the twigs and I also craft with them. I’ve been trying to get on Martha’s new show to demonstrate how to make an ass whoopin’ wreath.
Oh, lovely. I hope that works out for you. Your big day is coming up on December 6. Do you have anything special planned, or will you be doling out coal like usual?
I’m really looking forward to the parades around the world this year. I do intend to stick with the traditional coal and the whole “putting the naughtiest child in a sack thing,” but I’m coming up with some new stuff too. I have a stock pile of those BIC lady pens to give to ham fisted ladies on my naughty list, VCR Co-Pilots for fans of “electronics” and printers for those who have been truly evil this year. These gifts will dampen spirits worse than any beating ever could.
You do so much to dissuade bad behavior. What can the public do for you this holiday season?
I want what every traditional, Alpine satyr wants, really. A nice warm fire to sleep in, with some sacks of screaming brats to lull me to sleep. Maybe a buxom, morally questionable young lady to chase around. It really is the little things that make the season special.
Krampus, there are some cards, mostly from the 1800s that indicate that you are quite the ladies man. Are you still chasing tail in the 21st century?
Yes I am! I punish naughty children, but naughty women are a whole other story…
Ew. We searched the internet and found hints that there might be a lady Krampus. Santa has Mrs. Claus — is there a Mrs. Krampus?
I do, in fact have a family but the Mrs. would NOT appreciate being compared to Mrs. Claus. She does not bake cookies and is not jolly or round. I actually haven’t seen her in several years, I think she may have gotten a job in government.
Families put out milk and cookies to thank Santa for his services. Do people put out anything to thank you?
Folks give me Shnapps, respect and space. I really don’t care for bells and whistles. I prefer bells and whips.
— a writer too frightened to
provide her true identify