Krampus the Christmas Devil

America doesn’t remember Krampus, but Krampus does remember America. In an excellent article on Quartz Caitlin Hu explains the history of Christmas monsters, including the Krampus of the Italian, Austrian and Slovenian Alps.

In my interpretation, holiday monsters are a way to wrestle with order and disorder, normative culture and oppositionality. America’s Christmas attempts to obliterate that and to cover everything with a singular narrative, one in which all conflict can be soothed by consumerism and celebration. While these stories allow people to face their demons in a fun and creative way, they also serve a normative function, “scaring” children into good behavior and using fears of punishment to control.

Artists often break open normative narratives to examine what they are made of. Check out the Krampus the Christmas Devil song for a light, fun, and mildly ironic story of Krampus.


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