Think Coal is Bad? Try the Krampus

In traditional American Christmas practices, nice kids get presents in their stockings, and naughty ones get a lump of coal, right?

Well in Bavaria, you don't get coal. You get a visit from a Krampus.

In Germany, dozens of Krampuses might run through a town, scaring all the children. In Austria, when kids leave their shoes out for treats on St. Nicholas' Day, opens a new window, they might also be approached by someone dressed as Krampus who will threaten them with a birch branch to remind them to respect their parents. And in Croatia, instead of being threatened by walking, talking Krampus demons, they'll just get that stick in their shoe., opens a new window

Even Hollywood has gotten into the deal, opens a new window. And in this case (unlike many other things that we've made a little or a lot lighter compared to their Gallic and Germanic origins), the Krampus creature is pretty darn frightening. And kills people.


So be happy if all you get in your stocking is coal this year. Could be much worse.