I suppose a fat dude in a suit shimmying his ass down a chimney while his reindeer chill on your roof is a pretty creepy Christmas belief. Everyone now knows about Krampus, the Reverse-Santa of Croatia, Slovenia, Northern Italy, and other areas that captures and punishes the naughty children. There are so many more creepy and insane Christmas traditions that we can run into the ground on the internet.
Oh, look! It’s a kitty cat! However, this kitty cat will fuck you right up if you are poor, you stupid little peasant. (I’ve been told Das Cheezin Chief will be creating a cabinet position for Jólakötturinn.)
Also known as Yule Cat, the Icelandic creature is tied to a tradition of finishing work so that new clothes can be received before Christmas. The giant cat prowls around and devours layabouts that don’t have new clothes. Because they’re clearly lazy pricks.
Take this opportunity to buy yourself a gorgeous new outfit before Christmas, lest Tim Gunn kitty destroys you!
This one involves Southern France, Spain, Portugal, and Southern Italy. El Caganer literally translates to “the shitter” and is the celebration of the one dude that had to drop a hot deuce while the Christ Child was being born. The Caganer is hidden near or in Nativity Scenes and enjoys being found by children.
As far as I can understand, at least.
Elf on the Shelf
American parents purchase a $30 elf doll and, optionally, the book that goes along with it for their screaming uterus parasites. It is explained that the elf is a spy for Santa Claus and will report all good and bad behavior to him every night until Christmas. So you see, this teaches kids that they should always do the right thing as long as someone is looking and a reward is at stake.
As Elf on the Shelf grew bigger, people decided to share their Elf antics with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all of the Internet. You see, part of the whole thing is that the Elf gets to destroy your goddamned house before he tattles on you to Santa. He poops Hershey Kisses, talks Barbies out of their tops, and generally acts like an asshole to keep kids in line.
13 Yule Lads
Iceland has another strong showing on this list with their group of Yule Lads. The Lads sound like a cross between Santa and Krampus, with the thirteen leaving either presents or rotten potatoes for children on Christmas. Each of the thirteen arrives and departs during different time frames of Christmas and each has a specific personality. Here are my three favorites:
Stekkjarstaur, AKA Sheep-Cote Clod: Harasses sheep, but is impaired by his stiff peg-legs.
Þvörusleikir, AKA Spoon-Licker: Steals long-handled wooden spoons to lick. Is extremely thin due to malnutrition.
Gluggagægir, AKA Window-Peeper: A snoop who would look through windows in search of things to steal.
This mythic individual roams around, entering people’s houses to and leaving silver coins for those who were good all year. Frau Perchta didn’t leave coal for those who had been naughty all year, but she did slit their bellies open and stuff them with garbage, which I can respect.
And jebus help you if you were a girl that spun all of her fiber during the year or someone that ate anything but fish and gruel on Perchta’s feast night. Because you would also be slit open and stuffed with garbage, but I think you got a bit more stink eye prior to the whole murder thing.
His name translates to Father Whipper in French. In France and southern Belgium, Père Fouettard is said to be Santa Claus’ travel companion. He carries a whip and flogs the bad children and gives them coal while Santa does what Santa does: looks the other way and gives presents to the children arbitrarily deemed good.
Père Fouettard’s origin story is that he was an innkeeper that captured three wealthy boys as they traveled to school. Père Fouettard and his wife kill the children, possibly drugging them before slitting their throats, dismembering them, and making them into a stew. Saint Nicholas rolls up on the scene, resurrects the children, and makes Père Fouettard into his sidekick so that he can forever engage in his kink of punishing children.
I almost forgot: he’s usually depicted in blackface. So that is no good.
Tio de Nadal
The Christmas Log is traditional in Catalonia and Aragon, as well as other places I’ve never heard of before. The log has evolved into having a face and legs, but started as a hollow log that came to stay with families beginning on December 8th (Feast of the Immaculate Conception).
Stay with me, because I swear I’m not making this up.
The family “feeds” the log every night and cover it with a blanket to keep it warm. The family cares for the log in the hopes that it will poop out presents on Christmas Day. How do you make The Christmas Log poop? Well, you can either put it in the fireplace and order it to shit gifts on command or you can beat it with a stick while singing a song about it. The song goes like this:
hazelnuts and mató cheese,
if you don’t shit well,
I’ll hit you with a stick,
Work Gift Exchange
You just know that bitch Ethel is going to bring in some Dollar Store bullshit and somehow get the nicest present in the bunch. Every fucking year. Goddamn you, Ethel. Worst Christmas tradition ever.