By: Hannah Katshir
It’s December first!!!! For many people, this just means the continuation of the cold weather, more snow, and one day closer to being home for an extended break. But for me, it means that other people finally find it acceptable to listen to Christmas music, put up Christmas decorations, bake pounds of cookies, and, the greatest of all television traditions, watch the 25 Days of Christmas on ABC Family – all of which I have already been doing and planning out for weeks. If you haven’t gathered, I absolutely love Christmas.
However, as much as I adore the traditions and the holiday spirit that runs rampant at this time of year, one holiday tradition has always put me off a little bit. Santa Clause, St. Nicholas, Kris Kringle – a man of many names, but one simple job. He is supposedly the bringer of joy to children on Christmas, leaving presents under the trees of all of the good little boys and girls and putting coal in the stockings of those who had been naughty. Now, ever since I was younger, this idea this idea didn’t thrill me as much as it did my peers. When you really think about it, someone breaking into every house in the world in the middle of the night with no problem, stealing and eating their food, and then leaving mysterious, wrapped boxes in his wake is not exactly a warming idea. In fact, take away the allure of Christmas, and it sounds a little bit like a burglary mixed with something that could easily be mistaken for a bomb threat in any other situation.
Two years ago, everyone’s favorite horror television show, American Horror Story, perpetuated my fears by focusing an episode which premiered right around Christmas time on a man who would dress as Santa, break into homes, and kill the people living in them. As a child, I would have nightmares of Santa going rogue and ending up as this. It seemed to me the perfect ruse, because very few children would turn Santa away from their house at Christmas time – that would obviously land them a spot on the naughty list.
More recently, there has been a resurgence of another Christmas demon. In old German folktales, there was a monster commonly known as Krampus – a half-goat, half-demon with horns and dark hair. He is the antithesis of St. Nicholas who is known to literally beat children into being nice, and often taking the still naughty ones back down to the underworld. This “Christmas Devil” and the traditions around it were banned by the Catholic church a long time ago, but are now making a resurgence, possibly for people to celebrate Christmas in a new way, maybe to take a more direct path of scaring children into being nice. No matter the reason, Krampus is coming back into style, which is both kind of exciting and a little horrifying.
So this holiday season while sitting around the fire, drinking hot chocolate, and making gingerbread houses, just keep in mind that there is much more to the holiday than visions of sugar plums dancing through your head.