Day 10: Krampus?

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The Walnut Room Christmas tree. Image: Cathi Kern Borushek for mutterhood

Like most families, we have certain traditions we enjoy during the holidays. One of them is heading to the Walnut Room in what used to be Marshall Field’s for a holiday lunch and a day of shopping. When they were young, my kids visited Santa to list out what they wanted him to bring. Nice, right? We joke about who’s been naughty and nice and maybe even buy some of that chocolate or licorice coal to indicate someone is on Santa’s bad list. Harmless.

Here’s a tradition I hadn’t heard of until this year: Krampus. Apparently Krampus is one of Santa’s friends in certain Alpine countries like Austria and Hungary. While Santa rewards those on the good list, his friend Krampus finds those on the naughty list and punishes them. With spankings from switches. If they’re super naughty, he carts them off to drown. Or he eats them.

No rolly-poly apple-cheeked fat man, Krampus traditionally has horns, one goat foot and one human foot, and is hairy all over. Today there are Krampus parades all over these countries, where young men dress as Krampus and drag chains and whips through the streets, scaring onlookers. For those intrigued, the 2015 Krampus movie can be added to your Frosty and Elf holiday films rotation.

Anyone out there celebrate Krampus? Personally I’m sticking with lunch and chocolate coal, but no judgement.

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