In honor of the Halloween season we thought we would bring you a list of top scary stories for Christmas. Most of you know all about Prancer, Dasher, Dancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blizten. But have you ever been told about the most terrifying Christmas stories of all time? For many cultures Christmas is a terrifying holiday masquerading as the "Happiest holiday of the year." As much as we may love Santa Claus and his predecessors for shelling out presents to good boys and girls during the yuletide season, many are unaware of the other side of that coin. All of those naughty boys and girls need someone to give them their come-upping as well. Here we unveil some of the most scary and traumatizing characters who have haunted the most wonderful time of year throughout the Ages.
Originally created in Germany, The Belsnickel is a fairytale figure sometimes portrayed with a long creepy tongue. He is usually found in ragged, disheveled, tattered, and dirty torn clothes. He wears dead animal furs to add to the scary factor. For those really naughty children he carries a switch to threaten a beating with. What makes him so scary is that in the few weeks right before Christmas, Belsnickel comes to the households of children and threatens those kids with a good whipping if they have been misbehaving this year. His visit gives the children one last chance to straighten up. If not, then not only will they get no presents, but instead a good beating from the Belsnickel himself.
Krampus has been described as half-goat, half demon Christmas creature that dates back well before the time of Christ. Most recently he has found a reemergence in popularity, thanks to movies and the internet he is now seen more or less as the ultimate Christmas demon, the Yin to Santa Claus Yang as some might put it.
While most American kids today will never have to fear a goat-demon man for being the bad kid, they've been taught worst case a lump of coal is what they will find instead of new shiny presents no matter their behavioral tendencies. On the other hand children from the pre 1900's, especially in Germany, knew something worse than a lump of coal was coming if they misbehaved. If you weren't well behaved you were beaten and tortured all before being kidnapped and taken to the Krampus' lair, where one can only assume you would be beaten and tortured some more. Sound wonderful right!
In modern days, there appears to be two sides on how to handle the Krampus story.Since the 1950s Austrians have tried to put the creature on the back burner, claiming terrorizing small children with such tales isn't healthy. While in some countries young men are even encouraged to dress up as the Krampus and terrorize small children, before having some Schnapps with the heads of the house. Because that's not messed up. Not at all. Elsewhere still, the Krampus is given his own holiday prior to the Feast of St. Nicholas on December 5th known as Krampusnacht, and even appears on his own holiday greeting card.
Better known to the Netherland natives as Zwarte Piet which loosely translates to Black Peter, although he may be a bit to tame for this list: he does, after all, like to give sweets and presents to all of the good little boys and girls and is a companion of their version of Saint Nicoholas. The outrageous thing about Black Pete is in the fact that he is an outdated racial stereotype created by the lily white natives of the Netherlands and Belgium. In a sad attempt in recent years to try and explain him away in a politically correct manner, have claimed that the reason for the "black" in Peter's name comes from his occupation as Santas chimney sweep, the physical portrayal says otherwise. Black-face make up, exaggerated red lips, and thick, Brillo-y hair.
It should also be noted that Pete accompanies Sinterklaas (Santa Claus) on his journey from Spain, meaning he is likely a moor (more like a well liked slave), or a what they would like you to believe is Saint Nicholas Servant.
In attempts to downplay the racist background of the character to foreign tourists, the Dutch have tried having the person playing Zwarte Pieten instead paint himself in a variety of colors. This didn't set well with those rooted in the tradition, and he has since returned to his black face roots. In recent years, the backlash returned from figures from other cultures, which has forced the local governments to downplay and rethink Zwarte Piet's role in the winter celebrations.
Another Christmas baddie is the Gryla, this creature comes from Icelandic mythology she is a terrifying lady ogre whose favorite dish is naughty children. You know nothing says "Merry Christmas!" quite like being fed to a horrifying creepy ogre lady. According to some have described the Gryla as such: She has three heads with three eyes in each head. Horribly long, sharp and curved fingernails. Don't think you can sneak up behind her with those icy blue eyes in the back of the heads and horns like a goat, her ears hang down to her shoulders. She has a hairy beard on her chin that is like a disheveled bird nest, while her teeth are like granite rocks.
In 1746, a decree was issued prohibiting the use of Gryla, because they felt she served no function other than to scare small children. This has lead to the crafting of a few songs which claim that she has died, however a few of them suggest that she could always return to the living, should the number of naughty children increase.