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6 Ways to Celebrate Krampusnacht

The first time I watched the 2015 film Krampus, I had a feeling the legend referenced in the film was not dreamed up by a Hollywood screenwriter. It just seemed too old world to be the product of a modern imagination.
It turns out, Krampus, and the holiday dedicated to him, Krampusnatch, are part of holiday celebrations that orginate in alpine regions of Austria and Germany. Krampus is the hairy, horned companion of Saint Nicholas. Krampus is tasked with punishing misbehaving children with coal and bundles of sticks, while St. Nick rewards the well behaved ones with presents.
Originally part of pagan traditions, Krampus was folded into Christian holidays and Krampusnatch is celebrated the night of December 5th, before the feast of Saint Nicholas. The characteristics of Krampus varies, but he is usually described as being hairy, with the cloven hooves and horns of a goat. He typically wears chains and bells, with a long, pointed tongue lolling out and bared fangs.
For a period of time Krampusnatch celebrations were banned by fascist governments and the Catholic Church, but the tradition is enjoying a modern resurgence.
Want to get in on the fun? Here are a few ways to celebrate Krampusnatch:

1. Send Krampus Cards

Much like exchanging Christmas cards, sharing cards called Krampuskarten featuring the curled horns and long slithery tongue of Krampus is a Krampusnatch tradition.

2. Read Brom’s Krampus the Yule Lord

Brom’s version of the Krampus story transports the beast to West Virginia and pits him against a darker, edgier Saint Nicholas.

3. Watch a Krampus themed movie

There are more choices then you think! Other than the previously mentioned Krampus, you can also give the German film Rare Exports a try. There’s also the anthology film A Christmas Horror Story, which includes a Krampus tale.

4. Watch a Krampus run

Once a tradition only practiced in Europe, Krampus runs are catching on in the US. Picture a bull run, but with rowdy men in Krampus costumes swinging chains and switches. Enjoy this footage from a 2019 Krampus run held in Munich to enjoy if you can’t attend one in person.

5. Host a Krampusnatch party.

Reuse some of your Halloween decorations and host a Krampus themed party. Consider making it a costume party and awarding a prize to the best Krampus costume. A Krampus ugly sweater party is also an option!

6. Use Krampus mythology as a writing prompt

Take a break from prompts about the smell of cookies baking and elves and try writing an edgier holiday piece.

Krampus Prompts:

Curled horns

Hooves stomping in snow

Hairy devil

Greetings from Krampus

Chains and bells

The Yule Lord

Stick bundles

He sees you when your sleeping


  1. Pingback: Strange Happenings in December | Everyday Strange

  2. Krampus reminds me of a legend here in Texas its called the Legend of Goatman’s Bridge a legendary demonic satyr of the same name, who is popularly believed to inhabit the forest surrounding the area. Goatman well has his name inplies he is a Satyr who goes around punishing those who would do harm to his bridge but Krampus goes around punishing naughty little boys and girls around the world on Chrismas.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Everyday Strange and commented:

    I can’t resist reblogging this post about Krampusnacht, an oddity of a holiday celebrated every year on December 5th. It is overwhelmingly the most popular thing I’ve ever written on this blog, perhaps I should writ more about obscure holidays?


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