Ho Ho Horrible

By: Hannah Katshir

hannahIt’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.

For more information of Krampus, visit this site, and this one.

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7 thoughts on “Ho Ho Horrible

  1. I think people tend to overlook the horrors in every day life because of the way they are framed. Like you said, the idea of Santa Claus can easily be turned into a horrible thing, yet we have framed him in such a way that means happiness and presents. I think this goes back to the belief in the good of human nature. We should encourage our children to assume people are always doing good in order to perpetuate them doing good deeds as well. That is not to say we should teach our children to be foolish, but to fear Santa Claus? Well thats just horrible, and robbing people of a beautiful time of the year that is supposed to remind of us love and giving.

  2. I find the idea of Krampus very interesting. It seems like no matter the realm there’s always an evil counterpart to something good, such as Santa. Even in the holiday films on ABC Family there’s an antagonist to Santa, attempting to spoil Christmas for everyone. This makes me wonder why there must always be something bad to counter something good. Is it because of the everlasting lesson that good always overcomes evil? Or is it just a constant reminder that there is bad in this world no matter what?

  3. I’m so glad you brought up Krampus in the context of the horror blog. In my high school German class, we would learn about traditional customs of German speaking countries, and we were always fascinated with Krampus, since we never had such a figure in America. While we liked hearing of the differences between the German idea of St. Nikolaus, this absolutely horrifying anti-santa was fascinating to us. And he really does belong in a horror class.

  4. This post brings up the idea that culture plays a huge role in developing horror, which we have already talked about so much in class. However, we usually talk about horrors that were created in the US or at least North America. We don’t usually read about horror cultures from different countries, so I’m really happy that you wrote this post that is about a horror figure from Germany. I’m definitely going to read more about him!

  5. It is interesting how it seems that many stories or myths that are happy, like Santa, usually have similar or related stories that are horrifying. Like Santa and this creature, Krampus. It is similar to the disney stories originate from the Grimm Brothers horror stories. It seems that this is similar to the idea of balancing out the “good” and the “evil” in away.

  6. My previous reply to this post did not go through but here is a summary of my thoughts. I have never heard of Krampus, or any other demonic of frightening figures associated with Christmas, so I found that story interesting. However, I am not sure that my awareness of such darker tales influences my view of Christmas as a positive and joyous holiday. You seem to be encouraging that we keep in mind this darker side as we celebrate. I am not sure that this is necessary or useful. I am curious as to what the importance is in keeping in mind these tales.

  7. This is a very horrifying idea. When the few things in life that we view as completely pure, honest, and comforting are turned into something different, it is terrifying. I am also concerned about shows or websites children can get access to about the scary sides of holidays because it changes their view on them. I am scared now and would have an entirely different view on Christmas and Santa if I saw that American Horror Story episode as a kid. I also had the same concern as Grace about why we should keep this in mind over the holiday.

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