When you think Krampus, what do you see in your mind’s eye? Horns? A ghastly tongue? Sly eyes? Hooves and a whole lotta fur? Add a few chains, a basket, and a switch, and there’s your man-demon, all dressed up and ready to serve up his own brand of justice.
Think about that last word. Let it settle. “Justice.”
Krampus traditions suggest that his duty is to provide a balance for the gentleness and generosity of Saint Nicholas. After all, most children are naughty sometimes, and some kids are just plain rotten. The presence of Krampus suggests that for hundreds of years, long before the Christmas season began to be a materialistic bacchanalia, adults began to want to see the darker side of Santa. After all, it’s parents who allow children to partake in traditions, and what parent doesn’t want an antidote for impudence?
In He Sees You When He's Creepin': Tales of Krampus, Krampus is thrown into some very odd, terrifying, funny, and thought-provoking situations. The twelve stories demonstrate that Krampus provides rich material for writers.
In Lissa Marie Redmond’s “He Sees You When You’re Sleeping,” a hipster coffee shop owner named James, with a history of dealing with the supernatural, helps a good friend in a terrible situation. (This is the second outing for James. His first appearance is in the anthology Frozen Fairy Tales.)
In Beth Mann’s “Santa’s Little Helper,” Krampus has a life-changing encounter with an attractive and devilish woman who gives him a big assist.
In Anya J. Davis’s “The Business of Christmas,” a talented artist becomes an employee of “Petra Krampus,” who has an essential business plan to save Santa from his worst impulses.
E.J. Hagadorn lets Krampus have his way with a genuinely horrible monster kid named Rolf. Things get enjoyably rotten for Rolf in “Schadenfreude.”
In “Family Tradition,” by S.E. Foley, a bold, creative, guitar-playing big sister named Laney fights the good fight against the horned one to save her family.
In Brad P. Christy’s “Krampus: The Summoning,” we go back a thousand years to the vengeful beginnings of a Christmas tradition.
In “The Outfit,” by Ross Baxter, two boys are out to enjoy Krampusnacht, but one of them is in a truly transformative costume. His pal doesn’t fare too well.
In “Family Night,” by Nancy Brewka-Clark, Krampus is a family man who faces the frustrations of being a parent, but his troubles are far from ordinary.
“A Winter Scourge,” by Tamsin Showbrook, places a British detective in Florida at Christmas time. She encounters both Santa and Krampus in surprising ways. Mayhem ensues.
“Bad Parents,” by E.M. Eastick, has Saint Nick begging Krampus to come out of retirement to save a village that is going to hell thanks to idiot parents.
Rounding out this collection is Jude Tulli’s “Memo From Santa,” in which Krampus lays out the way Christmas will be for kids in the future—and it’s not all sugar plums and toys anymore.
I hope you’ll like this book. It’s a companion to Krampusnacht: Twelve Nights of Krampus. So if you need another Krampus fix, go to here to find out more.