Krampus has had a bit of a revival in recent years, becoming a better known figure in pop culture, but not just as "the horror story of Christmastime" but with respect to him being Santa's partner - his bouncer if you will. Krampus' scary appearance and tools of chains and "switches" are especially for taking the wicked - the Devil through to very bad children - to task.
I have to say, if I was in Saint Nicholas' business, I'd want a formidable counterpart to help me out too! And that's exactly what Krampus traditionally does.
That doesn't mean that's the whole story though.
Kate Wolford - fairy godmother, mentor and cheering leader to fairy tale writers everywhere - has produced a second Krampus anthology, He Sees You When He's Creepin': Tales of Krampus, just in time for the season, and the range of stories are wonderful.
Kate introduces the twelve short stories with one of her brilliant, informative and accessible mini-essays, explaining the basics of Krampus for newbies but also putting some great meat in there for those more familiar with this old holiday character. (We are big fans of all of Kate's intros!)
The previous Krampus anthology released in 2014, Krampusnacht: Twelve Nights of Krampus, also helmed by Kate and produced by World Weaver Press, was a big hit, and hit the pop culture pulse in conjunction with the horror-light movie Krampus hitting the big screens the following year. (We keep hearing praise for that movie from very different sources, so while that's not our usual fare, we think it's time we had a viewing for our newsroom.)
In the meantime, we have been fortunate to have just received a copy of the second anthology and have been visiting Krampus stories right through the weekend, with much enjoyment and relish! Somehow these short stories manage to bring the season into focus, even while Krampus - and the darker side of folk - are in the spotlight, and that's quite an achievement. For example, the opening story, in which Krampus meets a less than saintly Cinderella (and ends up doing some very non-traditional fairy godmother work) was a wonderful surprise. There was much more to this story than at first met the eye and we were thrilled to find other folklore at home in fairyland, woven in as well. We wish we could say more to tease you in, but we don't want to spoil the twists and surprises... just grab yourself a copy and then we can chat. ;)
We may be teasing you more in the coming days up to the Winter solstice, so keep an eye out!
And for digital readers, finishing today - December 5th, aka Krampusnacht, you can get Kate's new second Krampus anthology for $3.99 as an ebook. We would suggest it's a lovely early present to send to someone who could use a dose of the season with a twist - or as a reward to yourself for surviving 2016.