My Aunt Jackie and My Uncle Val would come to our house every Christmas Eve. My Aunt Jackie was originally from Germany and she was married to my Uncle. Every year from the minute she walked in the door holding so many beautifully wrapped presents, she would ask my siblings and I if we were good this year. Aunt Jackie grew up believing in Santa Clause but also believed in his sidekick Krampus. Her parents would tell her the story of Krampus to terrify their children into behaving during the year. Every year on December 5th, the Eve of Krampus, my aunt Jackie and her siblings were on their best behavior, hoping Krampus would not come to their house. Aunt Jackie and her brothers and sisters knew if Krampus passed their house then Santa Clause would come with presents.
Aunt Jackie would tell us the story of the mythical Krampus on Christmas Eve. As children we couldn’t get enough of the same story she told us year after year. The story would always start with the same belief of Santa Clause bringing gifts to us on Christmas Eve. He would come down our chimneys, only if we were good and leave presents around our tree, but if we were bad the story changed to a dark and scary story of the Christmas Terror Krampus. Krampus was Santa Clauses evil sidekick.
She would detail Krampus as a long horned, shaggy goat like monster. It had long horns with an angry face, a long tail and a long hooked like tongue. Aunt Jackie would always say, “I hope Krampus is not coming to our house tonight.” I was so terrified when she said that because even if I was good, I was fearful that he would come to our home to get one of my siblings who were bad.
Aunt Jackie told us that if we were bad, Santa Clause who is always watching us would send his partner Krampus. He would sneak into our homes, kidnap the bad children and beat them with sticks and take them away to a dark scary place for a year. Christmas was supposed to be joyful, but knowing about Krampus made Christmas a scary time to look forward too. The Story always ended with my uncle Val yelling, “Jackie! Enough. Don’t scare them.”
Informant: The informant for this piece of folklore is my Aunt Andrea Formica. She grew up in New York and has Italian/German heritage. She has four children who she has spread her folklore to. My Aunt Andrea is in her early sixties.
Analysis: I saw they made a movie about Krampus but from the commercials alone it looked much different. The story of Krampus would scare my aunt so much that at one point she started to dread Christmas time. Most people grow up with the thought of being bad meant Santa brought you coal, which was terrible. The thought of as a child having to worry about a creature of Krampus coming to my home if I was bad would terrify me. Krampus seems to be a story that is getting increasingly popular at Christmas time.