Wondering how to keep your kids on the straight and narrow this holiday season? It's a challenge: Nowadays, the threat of a stocking filled with coal is no kind of incentive for good behavior. And that tattletale elf hanging around the house keeping tabs? I guess he's creepy enough to curb naughtiness to a point, but let's face it: There's nothing like putting the fear of Krampus in a kid to guarantee his spot on Santa's "nice" list ... forever.
Don't know Krampus? He's just one of several terrifying Santa alternatives moms and dads used to rely on back in the day to stop children from getting out of line around Christmastime. No joke: A visit from one of these guys makes a lump of coal sound like a fricken' iPad. Read on to find out more about these frightening figures -- not that you'll actually use your newfound knowledge to terrify your children or anything. Still, just in case ...
Image via Rowena/Flickr
According to Dutch folklore, when Santa Claus came to town, he brought Black Pete with him. The twisted team split up their workload thusly: Santa filled the stockings of good boys and girls with toys, etc.; Black Pete beat bad boys and girls over the head with a big stick. (Perhaps that's how the whole visions of sugarplums thing started? Trauma-induced hallucinations?)