Face it America, we deserve a visit from Krampus

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I had planned on finishing my fantasyland series this week with a look at how the 60’s Flower Power turned into the New Age power of thought, but a cold has got me down. So instead, I thought I’d follow up last week’s Christmas rant with a re-blog of my 2015 look at Krampus.

Sunday I binged watched HBO (you know I am sick when I sit and watch TV for hours on end) and wonders of wonders, the movie Krampus aired in the afternoon. It’s a movie that’s part comedy, part horror and while these two things do not pair well together, Krampus delivers on both. It’s a lesson on what happens when the spirit of Christmas is lost and how it is important to value those we love. It quickly became my second favorite Christmas movie.

So as I cough and sneeze my way back to health, I offer this. Things you may not know about the Krampus. Enjoy!

One of my biggest complaints against the war over the words “Merry Christmas” is that it isn’t all that friggin merry any more. Parents consumers battle for toys to stuff under the Christmas tree for kids who already have more than they deserve and will, without hesitation, ask for more just weeks after the season is over.

We all know about the horrors of Black Friday. Each year millions of parents rush out Thanksgiving night in the hopes of snatching up presents at low low prices. Part of this “seasonal” tradition involves trampling other parents or fist fighting over the last X-Box or big screen TV. For what? So that little Johnny or Suzie will wake up to find that Santa has visited late in the night; a man who is no relation to them, but yet for some unknown reason leaves expensive gifts for children to enjoy? Kinda creepy if you think about it. This tradition of allowing a stranger to enter your home while you are sleeping in order to shower your children with gifts. On top of that, he seems to have a naughty and nice list. Bet you’d be calling 911 if some stranger told your child “if you’re nice to me, I’ll give you a iPad”. But I digress. It’s not Santa’s fault Christmas is now a consumer’s wet dream. We’ve conditioned ourselves to take this one time of year to ensure all children, whether they are naughty or nice, get exactly what they want, even if it means running over someone else in aisle 3 to get it. What’s so merry about that?

Not that long ago Santa’s visit was used as a threat to make little children behave. They were reminded all year long that naughty deeds would ensure that Santa skipped them on the next Christmas Eve, or worse yet, leave coal as a reminder of his disapproval. I actually remember hearing a parent once sigh and say, “I was going to buy Richard a bike this Christmas, but he’s really becoming a dick, so it’s clothes and a basketball this year”.

Now that we (and by we I say Americans) are so enamored with the idea of the perfect commercialized Christmas you would be hard-pressed to find even one parent who uses Santa as a behavior modification tool. Santa is now every child’s beloved uncle whose loves is unconditional. What America needs more than ever is a reminder that not all children are worthy of such lavish gifts. Sometimes children (and their parents)need to be reminded that while they should always get what they deserve, what they deserve is not always pleasant. What we need is Krampus, Santa’s evil sidekick who plays bad cop to Santa’s good cop.

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Don’t know who Krampus is?

Well then here are 5 things Americans may not know about Krampus.

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What the hell is a Krampus?

According to Norse mythology, Krampus was once believed to be the son of Hel, ruler of the Norse underworld. In Norse mythology, Hel is the ruler of Helheim, the realm of the dead. She is the youngest child of the evil god Loki. Hel is most often described as a horrible hag, half alive and half dead, with a gloomy and grim expression.

So, what does the child of Hel look like?

His appearance is befitting of a demon from hell. Americans would recognize him as the devil, with matted fur, one cloven hoof, the other human, sharp teeth and large horns. He is usually depicted carrying chains or bundles of birch branches to hit bad children with. Other times he is depicted with a sack, which he uses to carry naughty children to the underworld where he will later torture and possibly even eat them.

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WTF? Why Christmas?!

In the 17th Century, some countries bordering the Alps reintroduced this once pagan monster into their Christmas traditions. Most likely because they thought their children were growing soft and needed to toughen up. They were experiencing extreme effects of the Little Ice Age, and thought the kiddies needed to be reminded “life is hell, deal with”. Or maybe they thought this yearly grab for presents to be getting a little out of hand. Either way, Krampus, demon from hell, became a part of the Christmas gift giving tradition.

No, seriously, WFT? Christmas?!

The night (December 5th) preceding St. Nicholas’ feast is known as Krampushnacht or Krampus Night. This is the night the Krampus comes out and chases down all the naughty children, beating them and stuffing them in his sack to take back to hell. Those that are left are given gifts by Santa (or then, St. Nicholas) during the following night. Some legends suggest the Krampus hunted down naughty children throughout the Christmas season. Today, some Austrian towns and villages continue the celebration by encouraging men to dress as the Krampus in order to scare the local children. This is known as Krampuslauf—a Krampus Run.

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The modern Krampus has a new PR agent

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While Americans may cringe at the idea of a demon sidekick for Santa, Europeans love and celebrate Krampus. These countries have access to his image in the form of candy, postcards, Christmas Cards, ornaments, T-shirts, hats, books, collectable horns, and this year thanks to Hollywood, his own horror movie, Krampus. The demon is becoming so main stream in Europe, some feel he is being overly commercialized and will soon lose his demonic power to scare naughty children into behaving. Who would have ever guessed mass marketing could be used as a tool for good?

But before Krampus becomes too cool, to hip for his original purpose I propose we bring him to America. Not to chase and steal naughty children but rather their parents, who act demonically themselves in the days leading up to Christmas. Perhaps a Krampus running around Walmart and the like is just the Christmas miracle many of us have been waiting for.

Works Referenced

NGO Who is Krampus? Explaining the Horrific Christmas Demon http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/12/131217-krampus-christmas-santa-devil/

Smithsonian.com The Origin of Krampus http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/krampus-could-come-you-holiday-season-180957438/?no-ist

And of course the anonymous internet and its wonderful collection of photos.

Vintage Christmas Postcard
Vintage Christmas Postcard

Merry Friggin Christmas!

Ho,ho,ho, Who’s Really Waging the War on Christmas?

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Once again tis the season to be jolly, and once again, tis the season for the annual “War on Christmas” conspiracy drivel. With Bill O’ Reilly out of the picture it was anyone’s guess on who would pick up the battle cry this year. No, I’m joking. We all knew it would be none other than the deranged orange clown himself.

At a speech Wednesday in Missouri to publicize the GOP tax overhaul, Trump kicked off his remarks by saying: “I told you that we would be saying Merry Christmas again, right?”. To quote the idiot-in-chief, WRONG!

There has never been a time in modern history in which we the people of the United States of America have been prohibited from saying the phrase “Merry Christmas”. Hell, there is nothing stopping you from yelling from the rooftop on Easter! You can say it any time you like for as long as you like. In fact the magazine Mother Jones reported a few days ago that since 1970 the use of the the word “Christmas” has gone up by 50%, while the use of the word “Holiday” has only gone up by 33%. If there is a war on Christmas, the other side is losing.

If by “Christmas” you mean the holiday that includes garish decorations and a sea of presents (followed closely by a mountain of debt) then, no there is no war on Christmas. We can point to the facts to prove it.

Fact: In the last decade the Christmas season has made its way into November, starting with Thanksgiving evening. For you die-hard Christmas warriors, malls across America are opening their doors earlier and earlier just for you. No longer do you have to wait in dark of night to storm the gates to plunder and pillage for bargain prices! The doors open at 6pm and stay open almost all-damn night. If you don’t want to battle for your Christmas spoils you now have the convenience of shopping Black Friday (now Gray Area Thursday) online. Missed it? Don’t worry, you get a second chance the following Monday, now called “Cyber Monday”.

Fact: During the Christmas season consumer sales damn near double what they are for the rest of the year. CNN Money reports that this year’s online sales hit 5 billion dollars. That’s right folks, in less than 24 hours, 5 billion dollars was spent on Christmas gifts (I have no doubt some of that money was spent for other reasons, but not as much as it was on Christmas). So to say there is a war on Christmas is laughable.

I know, I know. Some of you are still not convinced. You cling to the argument that the store clerks no longer say “Merry Christmas” and Starbucks sell “Holiday” cups and for some reason I cannot fathom, this offends you; all I can say is that if this is the worse thing that happens to you this season, count yourself blessed.

While you may not hear “Merry Christmas” from the clerk who waits on you, do you know what you do hear throughout the store? CHRISTMAS music! You can’t get way from the fucking noise! You hear it in the bathroom, in the food court, in the dressing rooms, and at the check out station. You are hearing the words “Merry Christmas” over and over again. Can someone please come up with some new Christmas music?! How many times can we hear Jingle Bells without going crazy?

Just because the clerk doesn’t say it, doesn’t mean the store is boycotting Christmas, it simply means the clerk is being inclusive and sensitive to all the December holidays even if you and the damn music are not. I know it may be hard for you to conceive, but there are other winter holidays besides Christmas; yet is Christmas music all season long! Remember our religious freedoms? They extend to all religions, not just yours.

Speaking of religion, let’s get the heart of the conspiracy. It’s not the consumer driven Christmas that Christian conservatives are worried about. They know good and well that capitalistic Christmas is under no attack. It’s the idea that Christian values are under attack. Again, WRONG!

According the World Atlas.com, The United States tops the list of Christian nations with 226,886,418 Christian living in the country. While other Western countries are believing less and less in a deity who cares about our daily lives and who wins the Superbowl, America is holding steady at 70% of those who do. As of 9am this Sunday morning no one is stopping you from going to church or praying for that big win. In fact here in America you can even start your own brand of Christianity. Joseph Smith started Mormonism, and Mary Baker Eddy started Christian Science. Both were very unconventional Christians. True, Smith was killed, but lets face it, he pushed a lot of people for a lot of reasons to the breaking point. The fact remains, Mormonism is proof that anyone can start a church. John Oliver the host of Last Week Tonight, did just that last year in order to prove this point.

If we are talking about a war on Christianity then I have to agree that there is a grain of truth to the argument. But I would argue that the war is being waged by the vary people, like you, who demand everyone say “Merry Christmas” as you ride store to store seeking the best possible deals in order to cram as many presents under the tree as you can. How Christian like is this behavior? Lets see what Jesus has to say about your shopping habits shall we?

So, the next item on my Christmas list is..

John 2 15-17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Luke 14 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Mark 10 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

Do I have to go on? Because I can. It seems he has a lot to say about possessions and worldly delights.

In other words Jesus, the Savior of Christians, wants you to give up your worldly goods. Let me say that again- Jesus is quoted as saying that having and loving worldly goods, is the opposite of loving God.

There is nothing in the Bible that has Jesus demanding that you gather up your family under a well-lit carcass of a dead tree in order to pay tribute to your materialist needs. Again he is preaching the very opposite of what has become known as the “Christmas Christian Season”.

Can you imagine what he would think if he ever did return and it just happen to fall on his birthday? I doubt he’d be impressed.  Heck, tt may well even give him a heart-attack! And he’s gone again..

So the next time you find yourself faced with a store clerk who doesn’t say Merry Christmas, or outraged that your local Starbucks has dared given you a cup that says “Happy Holidays”, ask yourself who is being less of a Christian, you the greedy consumer or the person who is patiently serving you?

Works Cited

The Bible, English Standard version Print.

Works Referenced

CNN Money Black Friday Holiday Shopping 217

Mother Jones War On Christmashttp://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/11/war-on-christmas-update/

World Atlas.com Christian Nations