Krampus: The Darker Side of Christmas


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By Makenzie Walsh

Christmas is drawing near at an alarming rate. While we’re typically used to cheery imagery surrounding the holiday season, but not everything is so happy about this holiday. Central to Christmas’s dark side is the Central European figure of folklore, Krampus.

Krampus is described as half-goat and half-demon. The way people depict this hybrid differs from person to person, but his appearance is usually a demonic anthropomorphized goat (usually with a human or semihuman head) or a knockoff cartoon version of the devil. Krampus is told to punish children who misbehave, which is opposite to Saint Nicholas.

This demonic figure has been a figure of Christmas cards and festivals. These traditional events don’t exactly concern him specifically, for example, Krampusnacht, the preceding evening to December 5th, where he tends to be accompanied by Saint Nicholas, as noted by Maurice Bruce, in 1958.

Krampus, as already mentioned, punishes bad kids, though it wasn’t yet mentioned how. He’s often depicted with a bag or a basket, and with it, he takes children away for transport to Hell, drowning, or even being eaten, also mentioned by the writings of Bruce.

A late 2015 horror-comedy movie was released on Krampus and his kidnappings. Michael Dougherty directed Krampus. It is about a dysfunctional family arguing around Christmas time, causing one child to lose his Christmas spirit. As a result, the demon terrorizes the family, taking them away one by one, done with a collection of oversized, freakish toys, like a Jack-in-the-box. The movie ends with a plot twist that leads to what the author will assume is a jumpscare. There are numerous other Kramus-based films, but this is the one that the article recommends.

Christian Jacobs has noted that as a result of the Internet, Krampus is much more known to Americans than in the past, and he’s appeared in lots of pop culture, like a 2012 episode of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, for example, among other appearances.

It’s by time now that we stick this article in the bag and take it away. Hopefully, this gave the inspiration to look more into the darker parts of otherwise happy holidays, or maybe sit down with your loved ones and watch Krampus (2015), or some other holiday-inspired horror movie, as there’s plenty of them!

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