If you thought that Santa’s naughty-or-nice list was harsh, check out the anti-Santa. His name is Krampus, and he looks like a demon. But he’s just part of the Christmas tradition in Alpine countries.
Krampus is Santa’s evil helper; he stuffs really bad kids in his bag and takes them back to his cave, presumably to eat. NPR calls it “a kind of good cop-bad cop routine” and had this story about an effort to bring Krampus parties to the United States:
There are no Christmas lights up at Janet Finegar’s house in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia. She does not deck her halls with boughs of holly. Instead, hundreds of rib bones leftover from a neighborhood barbecue hang on a clothesline strung across her backyard. They’re bleaching in the sun.
“They have been scraped, boiled, scraped again, bleached and are now strung on strands and hanging out to dry,” she says. “They smell. Rib bones, as it turns out, are incredibly nasty.”
She will drape the bones over herself and wear them like a grisly tunic. It’s her Krampus costume.
Read the rest here.