Can you imagine Christmas without Santa Clause?  Or of an evil & frightening character, the polar opposite of this positive fellow that many are very familiar with during Christmas festivities – good old St Nicholas even existing?

While Santa represents the core essence of dreams & hope for children around the world, this dark being is the main ingredient of unthinkable evil & terrifying nightmares.  Some children in other parts of the world grew up with a very different night before Christmas story.

Krampus has been depicted in many variations with some particular characteristics proving to be more popular.  He is usually said to be very hairy, black or brown, having the horns of a goat and large cloven hooves.  This Christmas time monster is also known for having a very long pointed tongue.

He has been described as carrying bundles of birch branches that he uses to hit children with.  Sometimes these are replaced with a large nasty whip.  Unlike Santa, this scary mythical monster carries either a sack or basket for carrying children off to be eaten, drowned or taken straight to hell.  Forget hauling presents.

Just as St Nicolas is responsible for all of the well behaved children, this horned devil is devoted to all of the trouble making ones.  In Croatia, it is believed that St Nicholas gives good children presents and a golden branch to represent their good deeds.  If a child has misbehaved well, this hairy horned devil takes the gifts and leaves only a silver branch to represent their bad deeds.

Hey – any children out there still feel like misbehaving?

The legend of Krampus has been a part of yearly festivals and stories for many years in European countries.  Artwork of this mythical character has even been included on candy containers, post cards & greeting cards.

History on this evil and scary entity dates back to Pre-Christian Alpine traditions and he is referred to as the horned god of the witches & sometimes even a part of initiation rites of certain witch covens.

After the Austrian Civil War in 1934, traditions that included this Christmas time demon were prohibited under the Fatherland’s Front by the Dollfuss regime and by the Christian Social Party.

Today, the celebrations including this “evil Christmas time monster” are regaining popularity and being revived in Bavaria.