Christmas in Austria: How Naughty Children Should Be Dealt With – The Krampus

Turner Austria, Travel Job Tips

Now you better be good little Suzie and Johnny, or Jolly Saint Nick won’t come this year. Or he may just leave you coal and underwear in your stocking

What a bunch of hollow American bullshit. We talk a big a talk, but we haven’t stood tall when it comes to standing by our words and giving little Johnny what he really deserves when he steps outta line – a firm back of the hand. No, no – he gets an Xbox 360 instead for his insolence and finger crossing shallow apologies. America loves to give their children everything their little heart desires during Christmas time, irrespective of merit when it is expeditious to do so. It seems easier to swipe a credit card than to give good slap upside the head during the holiday season. It is an epidemic really, or maybe I have been watching too much Mad Men lately, and am secretly longing to live in a different era. A time when men acted like men, dinner wasn’t micro-waved, and the English language wasn’t decimated to 3 letter words. Tradition is rooted in values, but those values should be deprived from principle rather than by Hallmark.

Or maybe America could just get a grip on reality and check out how some other places around the world do things when it comes to the naughty and nice list. More specifically: Salzburg, Austria.

salzburg in winter

Salzburg during the Winter

The hills are more than alive than simply with the Sound of Music here. They are alive with the ear shattering clanging of the bells of the Krampus in Austria.

krampus bells

Behold, the mighty thunderous bells of the Krampus

Wait, but what is a Krampus – in a nutshell, a part yeti/Chewbacca like beast mixed with a horned demon that steps up and delivers when others lack the fortitude and conviction to punish their little shit evil doers children. The tradition is widely popular in the Alpine regions in Europe (Salzburg & Bavaria) – even with the horrid Americanization pandemic spreading the globe (Sorry, I don’t want to ever hear Rudolph the rednosed reindeer when sipping my Gluhwein half a world away).


The demeanor of the Krampus varies, probably in proportion to amount of alcohol the young Austrian men who take up this noble cause consume before they wield their sticks (or also horse/cow tail, the later hurts). The tradition has many roots, some say it is to punish the naughty, while others with a longer view say it is merely to ward away the bad omens/spirits of the year. Either way, you will feel a new sense of stinging pain beginning when the show is over.

And of course, right after I said that they were being weak sauce I got a taste of the cow tail whip. Karma served. But there is a Krampus for every occasion, and the best part is your never know what you are going to get. Loving grandpa Krampus bumping you on his knee? Pervy womanizing Krampus (my kinda guy)? Or will you get angry blackout dad drunk Krampus who whips you like a mule? You never know, which is part of the fun.

krampus in salzburg

Up close

child krampus

Baby Krampus (with a pep talk from dad – Hit them hard and hit them low son)

krampus with women

Playboy Krampus – So what are you doing later?


funny krampus

Mildly Inappropriate Krampus (he was making the suck it sign, a true mans man Krampus)

Abusive Dad Krampus (I do it because I love you)


nice krampus

But he didn’t mean it and is so good with the children that I forgive him for my black eyes.


funny krampus

emphysema Krampus


krampus smoking

Smoker Krampus (all of them)

This is one of my favorite pictures, as children in America would be horrified if their beloved Disney characters stepped out of character for a moment and revealed that they are in fact people, and not gigantic cartoons comes to life to entertain them. But I guess that is just one of the many differences between America and Europe. One lives in a fantasy world where they are the center of attention and the other embraces a lifetime of nicotine addiction early on. But kids will be kids.

The Final Krampus Salzburg Performance

saint nicholas in salzburg

Saint Nicholas and his apple guy shower the crowd with kindness (no one is really that excited for them)


krampus parade

Krampus Parade

Salzburg Krampus show

Saint Nicholas in Austria is just a holy man, no magical Santa here so kids just see him as any old guy who tries to hand them fruit/veggies (indifference with mild disgust)


So in the end, is this dispeller of evil really the wicked and nasty guy that the tale makes him out to be? Or is he just another misunderstood hero trying to make his way in the world with gainful seasonal employment? I will let you know.

blogger with krampus

Good, bad, or just fucking ugly?