Christmas hasn't always been a bastion of cheer.  There is a darker side to the holiday season, as old as Santa himself, and his name is Krampus. Here are some facts combined from Mental Floss, The History Channel, Britannica and List 25.

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The Legend Of Krampus Dates Back To 12th Century Germany

Some say Krampus is older than Santa, some say they're right around the same age.  It's said his name comes from the word Krampen meaning claw. Krampus is universally known as a Christmas Demon.  Some legends say he is the son of the Norse god Hel, God of the Underworld.

Krampus Day Is December 5th

Legend says if you didn't get a visit from Krampus on the 5th, you're a go for a good Christmas.  If you see bundles of sticks left for you, it's time to reconsider how you've acted this past year.

A set of wooden branches twisted with a rope.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

A set of wooden branches twisted with a rope.

You don't want to get this from Krampus. A set of wooden branches twisted with a rope.

What Is The Legend Of Krampus

It's a little different from country to country, but basically, he visits naughty children on the 5th of December.  He will do one of or all of these 4 things:  Leave naughty kids a bundle of sticks, beat naughty kids with sticks, eat them or take the naughty children straight to hell with him. Brutal.

Krampus and boy

Do You Leave Anything Out For Krampus?

It seems like that might be a good idea.  Legend states that Krampus likes a good alcohol left out for him.  Don't be stingy with the good stuff, he'll know.


Drink for Krampus

Glass of alcoholic drink wine in front of warm fireplace for Krampusrelaxed cozy atmosphere near fire

Does Santa Like Krampus?

The media often pits the 2 against each other, but legend says that Krampus and Santa are friends.  Many legends speak of Santa and Krampus visiting children together.

Is Krampus Still Celebrated?

Some countries around the world celebrate Krampuslauf (Krampus Run).  Revelers dress up in ornate Krampus costumes, drink alcohol, parade through the streets and sometimes chase or beat spectators with sticks.


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