Krampus in Pop Culture

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Krampus is getting a lot of press this year with the upcoming horror movie, aptly titled Krampus. While he’s never been center stage quite like we’re seeing with this movie, Krampus has always been a part of pop culture. So even though this is the first time we’re seeing a big-time movie about the creature (there was a TV movie back in 2013), this is far from the first time he’s been in our lives. Here are some of my favorite examples of Krampus in pop culture.

“Minstrel Krampus”, American Dad

Unlike most animated Christmas specials, American Dad brought Krampus into their holiday festivities rather than St. Nick. After Steve goes missing, the family heads to North Pole to rescue him from Krampus, who abducted Steve thanks to his awful behavior. It’s not a huge surprise that Seth MacFarlane would take a non-traditional bent to holiday specials (remember the Family Guy holiday special with the song “Christmas Time is Killing Us” that was sung by Santa and his elves), but it’s pretty cool that they were able to bring in Krampus and stay true to his lore.

Belsnickel, The Office

By name, Belsnickel isn’t Krampus, but he’s basically an interpretation of Krampus from a different region of Germany. Yep, Belsnickel is actually real, and not some weird Schrute family tradition. Belsnickel comes to decide if children have been impish or admirable in the previous year, giving cakes and treats to admirable children and a swat with a switch to those who weren’t (unlike Krampus, who looks like a literal devil and wanders around carrying chains). Dwight, holiday celebration extraordinaire, brought the spirit of Belsnickel to the Scranton office of Dunder Mifflin, swatting his impish colleagues and giving treats to his admirable ones. There’s got to be some sort of HR policy against switches in the workplace. Right, Toby?

“A Very Supernatural Christmas”, Supernatural

Sam and Dean Winchester are known for hunting crazy creatures, and on Dean’s last Christmas before his deal with the Crossroads Demon came due, the boys investigate a series of Christmas-y deaths (being yanked up chimneys, specifically). While ultimately the culprits end up being a couple of Christmas sweater-loving pagan gods, but the boys initial hunch was the Krampus himself. As is typical for most of the monsters on Supernatural, the writers took some creative liberties with Krampus, but they still kept the core of the Krampus spirit.

“Twelve Days of Krampus”, Grimm

Krampus’ appearance in pop culture can often get a bit twisted from it’s original lore, but the brains behind Grimm did their homework and really kept their story true to Krampus’ roots. In this episode, Krampus snagged naughty kids, tortured them, hauled them away in a sack, and left a lump of coal in their place. Definitely not gonna see a Charlie Brown special about that story.

Of course once Krampus hits theaters, I think Krampus will only be spotted in pop culture more and more. What are some of your favorite instances of Krampus (or Belsnickel, he totally counts) in pop culture? Let us know in the comments! 

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