Krampus - The Other Visitor on December 25th
Krampus is a mythical creature recognized in Alpine countries. According to legend, Krampus accompanies Saint Nicholas during the Christmas season, warning and punishing bad children, in contrast to St. Nicholas, who gives gifts to good children. When the Krampus finds a particularly naughty child, it stuffs the child in its sack and carries the frightened child away to its lair, presumably to devour for its Christmas dinner. (Source: Wikipedia)
"Krampus is a mythical creature from Eastern European folklore especially known in Austria and Hungary. Krampus accompanies St. Nicolaus during Christmas. Krampus warns and punishes the bad children, in contrast to St. Nick who rewards and gives gifts to good children. Krampus originates from the old high German word for "claw" (krampen). This is interesting due to phonetical similarity to Santa Claus (claws). Krampus is generally portrayed as an incubus, a male demon.
Traditionally, young men dress up as the Krampus in the first two weeks of December, especially on December 5. They roam the streets, clanging bells and rattling rusty chains. Krampus is often depicted with shackled chains between his arms like handcuffs. He also carries a birch rod for corporal punishment. This is often depicted in imagery with young girls.
Another common image is Krampus carrying off bad children in a basket on his way to dump them into hell. Could this be the origin of the saying, “to hell in a hand basket?” Sheep skins, long horns, a basket, chains, and birch rods are common imagery for Krampus. Krampus is a demon from hell. He should have the feeling of something possessed and unnatural, something in an abnormal body that it is not used to. "