The Reason For The Season

“Winter Is Coming” shirts are now IN THE STORE!!! [based on this comic]

Put the Krampus back in Krampusnacht! I demand my crazy holiday beliefs receive equal commercial exposure! Keep your horn of plenty, because Krampus has horns o’plenty! Wait, I think that last one was more about Thanksgiving! STRIKE THAT ONE, but pay the necessary attention to the first two! OPINIONS!

It’s a sign of the degeneration of our culture that more people aren’t aware of Krampus. Much less aren’t strangled by fear of him year ’round. There are shocking similarities between Santa Claus and the exalted cloven hoofed one. They both have sacks that deal with children, they both have more hair than the average person, they both have 18″ red tongues, though santa’s is generally hidden by his beard, and they both live in remote lairs that the average child would not be able to find their way home from, were they dragged there in a sack.

You have a few days left. Please start saying “Beware Krampus” to any and all people you encounter, regardless of the situation. And do report back with your findings.

COMMENTERS: Have you encountered any “you should really be greeting me in the holiday salutation of MY preference instead of YOURS” type of situations? Any that stick out as particularly ridiculous? Alternately, please insert Krampus into the Christmas movie of your choice. Perhaps Tim Allen could have starred in The Krampus Clause? Or children might dread their annual viewing of How the Grinch Supported Krampusnacht. Spoilers: he was in favor of the beatings. Don’t do anything with that one where Michael Keaton was reincarnated as a snowman. That was terrifying enough as is.

“You there, boy. What day is it?”

“Today, sir? Why it’s Krampusnacht.”

“Then it’s not too late! Here, boy, take this and run to the butcher! Buy the fattest goose they have and take it to the Cratchet house! Paint it’s blood over their door and drape its entrails across their threshold! Leave the carcass as an offering to Krampus! No Cratchet child shall be tossed in a sack this night!”

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  1. Hell YES. And why doesn't my lousy radio station play Krampusnacht music?

    "We need a little Krampus, right this very minute – I won't be celebrating 'til this sack's got children in it!"

  2. My mother is a "Keep the christ in christmas" type. Makes me wonder if she tells her Jewish friend "Merry Christmas" or if the arrogant cultural berating is only for strangers.

    • I am always tempted to ask that they get their Christ the hell outta my Yule, haha. "Remember the reason for the season"– well, it's the solstice, dudes. XD They're reasonably sure Christ was born no later than September, when the shepherds were still out in the fields with their flocks (which they wouldn't have been in December).

      Me, I prefer a world in which we can have Christmas AND Yule AND Hannukah AND Kwaanza AND Ramadan AND… over the one in which we can't have anything. So in that context "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings" makes sense (and sounds nicer than "Merry Everything", haha).

  3. The greeting card in the linked wikipedia article, with Krampus on the rocking horse, is fantastic. Why can't I get Xmas cards like that?

    • Oh god, you know about Zwarte Piet too! so horrible, it is pretty much the only one that should be gone. We should still have more Krampus though.

    • I think I heard of the guy you're talking about from the Colbert Report. He was SinterKlaus (Dutch Santa Claus) 's demented sidekick. Did pretty much the same shit the Krampus, right?

    • I'm enjoying(?) my first Christmas in the Netherlands. The few dutch friends I have can't understand why I have problems with Zwarte Piet.

      Of course this is also the country that had a political party based around lowering the age of consent to 12. Thankfully they never got to stand in an election and have since disbanded.

    • Oh man I love explaining Sinterklaas to my friends. My grandparents are Dutch immigrants and we still do some traditional things. The story gets even better where in some areas it's not one but seven to eight black men and they would take the worst kids back to Spain to be slaves. That fun tidbit I learned from my Nederlands language class. It's so terrible. We can lose Zwarte Piet but I'm keeping my Sinterklaas chocolate.

    • My Dad's German, and he totally wanted to have Black Peter in our Christmases as well as Santa. XD Happily for us, Mum kept talking him out of it. We didn't like the gleam he got in his eye…

      He said that it was usually one of his two aunts that dressed up as Black Peter for them, and while the one was okay, they didn't like the other one doing it; she'd whip them for real. XD

      Ah, the happy, innocent children's Christmas… XD Mind you, now that I'm a parent myself, it makes more sense, ha ha. Santa brings you treats for all the times you were good, and Black Peter spanks you for all the times you were bad. Logic! 😀

  4. Home Alone would have been much better if, instead of hiding from bumbling burglars, li'l Culkin was hiding from a Christmas demon with a death bag, a'la Killer Bob…

  5. The way I greet people is "Merry Chris-mas", same pronunciation, but for me it's in recognition of the late Chris Farley, who I believe sometime, on a dark winter's night, will return from the dead and whup the asses of Adam Sandler and David Spade.

  6. Honestly I wish people Merry Christmas as a means to share the joy of the season that I celebrate. On that vein though if I know what a person celebrates ie Hanukkah or Kwanza) I wish then a Happy Hannukkah or Happy Kwanza or even Festivus. If you have a problem with that? Fuck you! That also is traditional.

    • Agreed! Though not particularly religious, I also wish folk a Happy Christmas, Merry Effin' Crimbo, Joyous Nativity of Santa Claus or whichever have you. Never have I had anyone complain to me about it. Not ever. Not even Jewish people, and I do a lot of work at a local Jewish hospital.

      But yes, more Krampus. Forget that sack of coal business! Who wouldn't want coal in the dead of winter?

      • Fuck yes. The one time I put real coal in the kids' Christmas stockings we ended up actually using it a day later to get the fire going.

    • Kwanza is a real American tradition! It really did start in America, unlike those other immigrant holidays buying up all our good commercialism.

  7. I say merry Christmas to my Christian friends and family (or the ones who at least get cool shit on that day). I say happy holidays if I don't know what their religion is. If I know what religion they are I'll wish them a happy that. If someone wished me a Happy kwanaza I'd wish the same right back. It's not like wishing someone a particular happy holiday is shoving your religion down their throats or something.

    I agree with the 'Keep the Christ in Christmas' stuff as a Christian. I find it important to remember why we (being Christians) celebrate this time of the year. But I have no problem with anyone who just celebrates this time of the year for the sole sake of presents.

    • "I agree with the 'Keep the Christ in Christmas' stuff as a Christian. I find it important to remember why we (being Christians) celebrate this time of the year."

      I am not trying to start an argument, but I feel like most Christians are unaware that you celebrate this time of year because the church was sick of people having pagan celebrations around the solstice so they officially moved Christ's b-day to December 25th. Christmas has it's roots in a LOT of millennia-old traditions, but the birth of Christ really isn't one of them. If you start looking at the holidays that actually inspired what we view as Christmas (Saturnalia, etc), it's about the most secular/pagan holiday there is.

      Again, not trying to argue or defy your beliefs. You should feel free to celebrate whatever you like, whenever you like. Christmas is just sort of a crazy conglomeration of traditions that doesnt have any real meaning other than what you assign to it.

      • I meant the reason Christians celebrate Christmas is the birth of Christ. Where, obviously, the winter solstice has been around for a lot longer. As a result, the reasons for celebrating during this time of the year are not really Christian based; as well as a lot of the traditions. I like that Christmas, and this time of year in general, can be enjoyed by everyone.

        And yeah, I know you're not attacking anyone's religious views and such. You, and your followers, do a great job of keeping the arguments to a minimum on here, even when they disagree.

  8. I'm not a Christian but I wish all those who celebrate it, a Christy Jesusrific Godlicious Maryful Josephgasmic Holy Ghostabulous Christmas.

  9. If it's someone I know and feel I can joke around with, a hearty Merry Christmahannukwanzaakah works.
    If not, I generally just avoid any holiday-specific phrase on the off chance that they're going to be that ONE cranky stranger to give me a headache about it.

  10. Another great gut-buster, Joel! Especially Josh's face in panel 3. Was he beaten by the Krampus as a kid, & did he like it, setting off a chain-reaction of deviancy and anti-social behavior?
    Any way if you watched the Venture Brorthers episode "Very Venture Christmas", you'd know the Krampus was cast into purgatory after Vatican II, and the real Santa was sucked into a jet engine.

  11. I just stick with "have a super solstice", since that is the origin of all of these holidays: people bringing out candles and thinking happy thoughts on the longest, coldest night of the year.

  12. I'm gonna promote my own alternative Holiday greeting this year, in honour of the best seasonal movie ever:
    "Yippieh-kay-yeah, motherfucker!"
    Won't you join me?

  13. Problem is that Krampusnacht is the night of December 5th. The Krampus would accompany St. Nicolas to punish naughty children. Germans/Austrians actually have a separate day for this, so its not really a substitute for Christmas. The more you know…

  14. I'm the "keep Christ in Christmas" type, and I've been wishing everyone I meet a very Merry Christmas since before Thanksgiving. I'm amazed at how many people smile in a relieved way and are honestly grateful to hear it. I get that not everyone celebrates this holiday the way I do, and that's fine, do your own thing, but you're not going to stop me from enjoying every last minute of it.

  15. Ooh! Yes I spent one holiday season working at a Pier 1 outside of Austin, TX. We weren't instructed on what to say – be it Merry Xmas or Happy Holidays – but since I'm a Pagan, I felt it was appropriate for me to be inclusive and use the "Happy Holidays" greeting.

    More than once, the customers would respond with "MERRY CHRISTMAS" as if correcting me. One such customer did so, and as always I just smiled through it, but the woman behind her, with blue and silver decorations in her hands, corrected HER, saying "HAPPY HANUKKAH". The first lady looked back at the second as if shocked there were other people in the store at all, then picked up her bags and left. I smiled at the Hanukkah lady and told her she was my new favourite person.

  16. I wouldn't know about the Krampus if it weren't for the Venture Bros. Christmas Special. That was some of the most hilariously wrong animation I ever had the pleasure to view.

    So have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a Kwazy Kwanza, a Super Solstice, a Tip-Top Tet, and a Stolid, Dignified Ramadan.

  17. How often do you see a cartoon that refers to German tradition and contains a bundle of sticks. Thank Gott im Himmel that someone has put the faggot back in Christmas!

    • faggot or esp ( US ) fagot 1 (ˈfæɡət)

      — n
      1.a bundle of sticks or twigs, esp when bound together and used as fuel


  18. So, here's the thing. I've never seen anyone offended by a "Merry Christmas" that wasn't actually seeking offense. It's about the most innocuous religious expression that can be offered.

    Seems to me, then, that if someone's looking for an excuse to get their knickers in a twist, it's actually doing them a *favor* to wish them a Merry Christmas! They'd be disappointed if you didn't.

    • In the spirit of Christmas (or perhaps Krampusnacht), perhaps rather than assuming that anyone who is offended by your assumption that they celebrate the same holiday that you do, you could examine what leads you to make that assumption in the first place?

      • Sorry, that should have read "anyone who is offended by your assumption that they celebrate the same holiday that you do just wants to be offended".

        • Where was that assumption implied? Why would I need for anyone to celebrate or believe anything in particular when I express my hopes for their well-being on a given day?

          Or perhaps there's a way of somehow skipping Dec. 25? Atheist temporal distortion powers?

          So, yeah. When my Moroccan neighbors brought me Ramadan cookies, I was thrilled. Because I don't hate their religion, or them by extension. And I wasn't required to fast during the day for a month in order to eat them.

          By the same token, extending a Merry Christmas creates no obligation for the receiver.

          In the spirit of examining assumptions, therefore… have fun.

          • Atheist temporal distortion powers ACTIVATE!
            I keep trying to explain to people that time works *differently* for me, but noone understands…

    • I thought it was saying "Happy Holidays" that offended people? Because the wisher is trying to "destroy Christmas" or something?

  19. Being an atheist and –more to the point– a killjoy, I just wish people a pleasant weekend.
    But I also sort of *wish* I would encounter one of those special folks who are apoplectic about the X in Xmas, just because I would so enjoy pointing out that what they're reacting to is actually the chi in Χριστός.
    Christopher Columbus signed his own name with "X" instead of "Ch"… how come nobody ever gets up in arms about that?

    • I got to see my own Presbyterian minister react to that one. He kind of passive aggressively threw out the line, "anyone who's gone to seminary would know…" to the bible thumper who was raising the point.

  20. Since when is it necessary to have a holiday as an excuse to beat bad children with birch sticks? Thirty years ago, a holiday was when I wasn't beaten with birch sticks. Whole world is just stupid now.

  21. Ffffft. Krampus is for wussies.

    My family comes from the part of Germany where there is no Krampus–if you're bad, if you stay up to see Santa, or if he's just in a crappy mood, Santa takes the switch off his belt and beats the living hell out of you himself. If you're extra bad, he chains you to his sled with the other naughty children and drags you out in the woods and you're never seen again–but, again, he does it himself.

    My Santa didn't need some quasi-demonic proxy just so he could keep being a jolly old elf absent of psychotic violence.

  22. I enjoy wishing people a Happy Non-Specific December Holiday (of your choosing), mostly because it's fun to say and I can be an insufferable smartass at times. Also, when sending out presents to people I get an extra week before it's technically late.

    Granted last year I sent out my cards and boxes with a Joyous Belated Non-Specific December Holiday greetings some time in February. Go Team Lazy!

  23. I'm on the phone all day for a doctor's office. Because I don't know the person's religious preferences, I will say "Happy Holidays." Most people are fine with that, but I get a few people that get a bit bent out of shape with this and say "Merry Christmas" back, almost as if my greeting was an insult. Sorry, but I have Jewish friends and ""Merry Christmas" to them IS an insult. I will stick with my "Happy Holidays."

  24. I ran into a group of people handing out fliers on the mall (except that they were the size, shape, and sturdiness of business cards… business fliers? Flier cards?) with a long, detailed explanation of why it was vitally important that everybody say "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays." Being 1) a fan of inclusion and 2) a Buddhist (in that order), I wasn't terribly impressed, so I performed my small, symbolic act of defiance by dropping the flier-card-thing in the first trash can I found.

  25. I also briefly considered having the following exchange with them:

    THEM: (pointedly) Merry Christmas!
    ME: Sorry, I'm Jewish.
    THEM: …really?
    ME: No, but wouldn't that have been awkward?

    Ultimately I decided it wasn't worth it.

    • I've become fond of the occasional "No, thank you" in response to "Merry Christmas!" when I'm feeling mildly confrontational, myself.

      Generally, it happens when someone is being a prong about it. Otherwise, they get a Merry Christmas right back. Or, a Happy Holidays if that's what they go for. I generally avoid wishing anyone anything other than a "great day" of late, just to save myself the headache.

      I'm that way with any holiday. Someone wishes me Happy Thanksgiving, I'm all for that, even though I'm not really one to celebrate it. Someone tries to give me a spiel about how Thanksgiving is being bastardized by non-Christians that aren't celebrating it properly, I point out that it was constructed around the idea of a bunch of religious misfits getting the hell off their homeland so they can practice whatever religion they wanted, and being thankful to the locals in the place they landed for providing food for them, not too long before they openly oppressed them for being "culturally undeveloped" and very nearly wiped all of their kind from the map entirely. I'm like a moral choice event in a video game!

      Imagine, if you will, a hedgehog. Give a hedgehog a piece of carrot, and the hedgehog will be nice to you. Chastise the hedgehog for not begging properly, and you've got a prickly ball of anger to deal with. Tolerance is a two-way road.

    • Wow, I did something like that last year. I was a little bit more of a dick, though. Although it wasn't at the mall, it was a group from the church down the road who came up to my door with handouts detailing why being Christian was so vitally important to our nation, and some other stuff that I honestly just didn't pay attention to. Anyway, after they immediately berated me with their rantings as soon as I opened the door, I stared at them blankly for a second and said:

      Me: I'm actually Jewish.
      Them: Well that's ok hun, Jesus will forgive you for that if you just accept him as your lord.
      Me (now irritated): Haha, it's ok, I was just joking with you. I'm actually an atheist.
      Them: *dead stare*

      They just kinda stared at me with this pissed-off look for a few seconds until I shut the door on them.

      *I'm actually not a religious person, though I do believe in a higher power. People who get all crusader-y about their religion just tend to get on my nerves. So I try to make the best of it and get on their nerves whenever I can. *

  26. Joel, this is just one more recommendation for Supernatural as your next show. There is totally a Krampus episode. If that doesn't convince you…

  27. I usually just say, "You, too!" as I'm walking out the door if they say it to me.

    I don't initiate "Ice breaker talk" ["How are you/ etc."] unless you count, "Hey, Man. Give me a cold ones."

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