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.
Absolutely Everything About Santa's Pal Krampus
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.
The Nutcracker Is About A Child Lost In Another World
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.
Traditional Christmas Ghost Stories Focus On Life, Death, And Regret
While A Christmas Carol is perhaps the most famous Christmastime ghost story in the United States, the tradition of Christmas ghost stories predates Ebenezer Scrooge and Marley's ghost. As is the case with many "Christmas" traditions, telling ghost stories around Christmastime dates back to Pagan customs.
Around the time of the winter solstice, the Pagan's celebrate the festival of Yule. During this period, they believed that the colder, darker days made the spirits of the dead more accessible to the living.
This history of Pagan customs helps explain the relevancy of ghost stories to the Christian holiday, but the connection still seems odd. During the "holiest" days of the year, we scare the hell of out of children with stories like that of Ebenezer Scrooge, a greedy loner who is forred to face ghosts that can manipulate his perception of time and space.
Parents Allow Their Children To Sit On The Lap Of A Seasonal Mall Employee With A Beard
Sitting on Santa's lap is consumerism's ham-fisted attempt to attract more shoppers to malls during the Christmas season (after all, you can't meet Chris Kringle while shopping on Amazon).
Some report that the tradition goes back to 1841, when people flocked to see a life-sized Santa in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Today, the times are changing, and more parents prefer their children to just stand by Santa. However, plenty still force their kids to sit on that creep's lap.
We've all witnessed a terrified, screaming child fighting to get off of a chubby, bearded dude's lap. Why isn't that child abuse?