Christmas can be absolutely terrifying for children.
On Christmas Eve, parents often blame their child's inability to fall asleep on the anticipatory excitement they experience while waiting to begin a fun-filled Christmas morning. However, the truth is that there is a dark side of Christmas, and it's worse than anything you'll encounter on Halloween.
Despite what Hallmark has led you to believe, the history of Christmas is filled with terrifying figures. Even modern Christmas traditions, such as watching holiday-themed movies, can prove unnerving to a child. Consider the time-tested film Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which features a terrifying carnivorous snow monster as the primary antagonist.
The horrifying truth about Christmas is that the holiday does more than just remind children to be grateful and kind; it teaches them that tiny recon elves are real, other dimensions exist, and the whole holiday is basically a massive re-working of the Pagan Yuletide festival.
Here's a list of all the horrendous things you didn't know about popular Christmas traditions.
The Yule Lads Are Coming To Rob Your HousePhoto: Shorts & Facts / Youtube
Another terrifying Christmas legend comes from the country of Iceland, though this one was so horrific that the government eventually banned parents from telling their children the tale.
In the days leading up to Christmas, the Yule Lads were said to appear for the sole purpose of making children's lives more difficult. The descendants of monsters, each of these 13 creatures had a unique method for wreaking havoc. One might steal milk and farm animals, whereas another would remove all light sources from a room, leaving traumatized children in total darkness.
As unsettling as the Yule Lads were, the group's pet was infinitely worse. The Lads were followed around by a ferocious cat whose diet consisted entirely of children. Unlike Krampus, this cat doesn't care if you've been naughty or nice, it's hungry for whatever it can get its teeth on.38958Is this surprisingly creepy?
Absolutely Everything About Santa's Pal KrampusPhoto: Jeff Gauthier via Flickr
If you grew up celebrating the American version of Christmas, you almost certainly know the tale of Saint Nick, but you might not have been subjected to some of his more questionable friends.
Chief among Santa's entourage of shady characters is Krampus, a demon with massive horns whose main job is to drag naughty children to Hell. Apparently, Santa doesn't really want to know if you've been naughty, so a few weeks before Christmas, he sends Krampus around to weed out the bad children.
For minor offenses, Krampus might choose to simply beat the child with a bundle of sticks. If they've been especially bad however, they're tossed in his sack and brought straight to Hell.
FYI, Krampus begins watching you the moment you're born, as is evidenced by images of the demon taking flocks of presumably naughty infants away to some horrid fate.50094Is this surprisingly creepy?
The Nutcracker Is About A Child Lost In Another WorldPhoto: Universal Studios Home Entertainment / The Nutcracker: The Untold Story
Most people have seen some version of The Nutcracker. However, many are not aware that this beloved holiday staple was written and based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s 1816 fairy tale.
In the fairy tale, a young girl named Marie falls in love with the Nutcracker Prince, who she can only see come to life when she's asleep. During a battle between the Nutcracker Prince and the Mouse King, Marie cuts her arm and falls into a feverish sleep. There, she gets brainwashed by the Mouse King.
After Marie recounts this story to her family, they forbid her from speaking about her dreams. Nonetheless, Marie's faithful love for the Nutcracker brings the ugly doll to life once again. She and the Nutcracker Prince leave Marie's world and choose instead to live in the doll kingdom.
Basically, The Nutcracker is a story about a young girl who falls in love with a doll, then leaves her old family and life to spend her days with said doll in a world where toys are constantly warring with mice and child marriage laws apparently do not exist. Clearly, it's a wonderfully inspiring Christmas story.295114Is this surprisingly creepy?
Voyeuristic Santa Watches You When You're Awake AND SleepingPhoto: Jackie / Flickr
You've heard Bing Crosby declare it, "he sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake." No wonder your child can't sleep, an omnipresent old man with a beard is lurking somewhere around their house or bedroom.
The question your child is undoubtedly dying to ask is "why aren't you calling the police?" The reason your child can't articulate that question is that they have become paralyzed with fear due to your complicity in Santa's voyeurism.275108Is this surprisingly creepy?