December 5 is Krampus, sometimes called Krampus Night, or Krampusnacht. This is a custom from western Europe which never became popular in the New World. Where we think of Saint Nicholas (his day is tomorrow), or Santa Claus tending to both the good and the naughty children, in some countries, such as Germany or Austria, we have Krampus who attends to the naughty children. In some ways, he is Saint Nicholas’ shadow.
What is Krampus? He has sometimes been described as half-goat, half-demon, wearing chains, is usually brown or black, has cloven hooves, and horns. The origins of the figure are not known. Krampus is probably pre-Christian, an old horned god, but in later centuries, he became identified with the devil. In middle Europe, there are still Krampus festivals, and people send Krampus cards, but it isn’t really an amusing figure. Krampus carried a basket in which to place naughty children to carry off for drowning, eating, or transport to hell. I get the feeling that in modern times, though, the festivals are more a chance to raise a ruckus than anything else.
If the story of Krampus intrigues you, it is possible to buy a Krampus tree topper from Archie McPhee. (If you have never looked at their catalog, this is a great time of year to do so. You can find all sorts of strange and weird things for that hard-to-buy-for person on your Christmas list.)
I must admit I’m glad only Saint Nicholas made it over here!
There don’t seem to be any quotes about Krampus, except from the 2015 movie, so here are some quotes about Santa Claus.
Santa Claus is anyone who loves another and seeks to make them happy; who gives himself by thought or word or deed in every gift that he bestows; who shares his joys with those who are sad; whose hand is never closed against the needy; whose arm is ever outstretched to aid the weak; whose sympathy is quick and genuine in time of trouble; who recognizes a comrade and brother in every man he meets upon life’s common road; who lives his life throughout the entire year in the Christmas spirit. –Edwin Osgood Grover
Here comes Santa Claus!
Here comes Santa Claus!
Right down Santa Claus Lane!
He’s got a bag that is filled with toys
for the boys and girls again.
Hear those sleigh bells jingle jangle,
What a beautiful sight.
Jump in bed, cover up your head,
–Gene Autry, Oakley Haldeman
They err who thinks Santa Claus comes down through the chimney; he really enters through the heart.–Mrs. Paul M. El
Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year.–Victor Borge
You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town
He’s making a list,
He’s checking it twice,
gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.
Santa Claus is coming to town!
Alas! How dreary would be the world if there was no Santa Claus! … There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.–Francis P. Church
All the world is happy when Santa Claus comes.–Maud Lindsay
Christmas is coming; it is almost here!
With Santa and presents, good will and cheer!
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies!–Francis Pharcellus Church
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there
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