Creepy Vintage Krampus Illustrations for an Unmerry Holiday

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Krampus, a Christmas-themed folkloric figure dating back to European pagan times, has become a new icon for the Internet age. Our consumer culture has shifted the tone of the holidays, with Americans dying over deals in big-box stores. It’s no surprise that some people are looking for an ironic new mascot, one a little unmerry, with horns.

The storybooks say that Krampus punishes badly behaved children (and he’s often depicted “seducing” women and luring little ones to do bad deeds), unlike the more familiar Saint Nicholas, who comes bearing gifts. Instead, the creepy anthropomorphic figure carries chains and doles out spankings (often using bundles of birch branches or a whip). In parts of Europe (and increasingly, the United States), Krampus is celebrated at festivals. The eve of December 5 is known as Krampus Night or Krampusnacht. And the creature even got his own movie with the release of Michael Dougherty’s Krampus , which debuted earlier this month.

Today, we’re celebrating Krampus in all his horned glory with a look at some of the creepiest illustrations on vintage postcards and greeting cards. Happy holidays!

Gruss Vom Krampus!