“…two sisters held the doors closed, so that the Krampus, who raved frightfully outside, would not come in.” When the naughty things that we had done were read out loud, they could hardly keep the doors closed. … At the particularly naughty bits the sisters said: now we can still hold the doors shut, but if something worse comes up, we can’t do it anymore. That was the strongest motivation to try to do nothing in the next year that would lead to the sisters eventually not being able to hold the doors closed.”

> – Pope Benedict XVI


Krampus Postcard from the early 1900’s PD- 1923


Who is this Krampus that left such a mark on the childhood memories of the Pope? Who is this monster that these nuns used to motivate good behavior in the children they taught? Krampus is nothing less than St. Nick’s Enforcer, the stern, clawed hand of punishment for those who have found themselves on the Naughty List. He is a fur-covered, cloven-hoofed, goat horned beast that carries a bundle of birch switches and is wrapped in chains and rusty bells. J-Thurner


On Krampus Night (December 5th) in Northern Europe, groups of Krampus gather together and form a Krampus Run or Krampuslauf (I like to call it a Krampage) and descend from the snowy mountains, scare villagers and seek out spoiled brats to drag away and punish for misbehaving every year. The Krampus are accompanied by St. Nick to make sure they don’t get out of hand. It is custom to appease the Krampus by giving them a beverage so they will leave the household and the children in one piece – As long as they promise to be good.

So if you’ve been bad this year, you better watch out! Krampus is coming to town!