Day Twenty-Two of Breezemas: The Story of Krampus


Spencer McDaniel

Different depictions of Krampus

Katie Strickler

Before getting into the nitty gritty details of Krampus lets first get into who, what, and where Krampus is and where he comes from! Krampus is most popularly known as being half-goat and half-demon, defininity something I would be startled to see in the dead of night. The legend is believed to have started in Germany, with Krampus being the devilish counterpart to Santa Claus.

Krampus on an Austrian postcard, 1910

Santa Claus being the one who rewards children who are good with treats and presents while Krampus would steal away the children who had been bad and would take them to his lair. The name Krampus has an origin of German descent meaning “claw”, not a big shock to me if I do say so. Saint Nicholas and Krampus would go out on December 5th also known as Krampus Night and separating do their bidding, Nicolas going to reward the good children while Krampus would go beat the children who had been bad with sticks and branches. This would lead into December 6th or St. Nicholas Day where the good children would find their rewards while the bad children would be suffering the consequences of their actions. If your feeling confused with how there are different things Krampus does to naughty children then you are not alone. There are many different beliefs on what he does to the bad children, there’s kidnapping, eating, beating, and many more adaptations to what he does.


Activities come along with this beast such as Krampus Run, this is where people dress up as Krampus, have parades, scaring those around them, and having alcoholic beverages. Krampus can also be found in games such as the famous Warzone this holiday season until January of next year, this is due to the games holiday event that is currently going on called “Festive Fervor”. There are even websites dedicated to the legend himself and consulting fans of the beast. I found things such as Krampus wrapping paper, bedtime story for the kids, ornaments and candles, and even a drink! If you really look at it without rose colored glasses Krampus has become as scary as getting coal for christmas as an adult.

What he has become

Krampus originally started as a story to worrying children into believing that the wouldn’t receive any gifts and that they would be beaten if they were bad. I believe that it’s important that kids know that there are consequences if they don’t behave. I think that Krampus has taken many forms and has many different variations to conform to what the person telling the story is looking for the reader, or listener, or learning needs the most in that time. This could be learning to be a better person, appreciate what the have or what they are given or even that it could always be worse. To me The Story of Krampus is that children should look at how they are behaving and realize that what they are doing or saying might hurt someone else. I believe that the story of Krampus could make a even bigger impact that the story of Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas is important of course, he allows us to appreciate others and ourselves while showing that we love one another. When we get to Krampus his story allows us to be fearful, learn, and improve on ourselves, his story lets us reflect on our actions. 

Old Krampus Card from Europe