By now most everyone is familiar with Krampus, the monstrous goat/demon hybrid who throws naughty children into his sack and hauls them down into the flaming underworld (especially since Hollywood made him into a major motion picture). But not everyone is familiar with the rich wealth of Christmas horror traditions that are scattered all over Europe.
From time immemorial, discouraging the “naughty behavior” of children has been a key preoccupation of folklorists, God-fearing sadists, and parents alike; but the truth is that Krampus isn't even close to being the most fearsome apparition we've managed to come up with. Below are just a few of the child-disemboweling hags, flesh-eating serial killers, and roving horse skulls that misbehaving kids had best go out of their way to avoid this (and every) holiday season.
Frau Perchta and Her Tinsel EntrailsPhoto: Čeněk Zibrt / via Wikimedia Commons
Jólakötturinn, the Child-Devouring Christmas Cat
Grýla, the Giantess Who Eats Kids for Christmas Dinner
The Yule Lads, 13 Christmas Poltergeist Trolls
Hans Trapp, the Satanic Christmas Serial KillerPhoto: Public Domain / via Wikimedia Commons
Belsnickel, Christmas Eve's Masked Visitor