It's the most wonderful time of the year! Unless you've been a naughty child in certain Alpine towns, that is; then this is most likely the most terrifying time of the year for you. In a tradition dating as far back as Saint Nicholas, Krampus is a half-goat, half-demon creature tasked with punishing misbehaving boys and girls. Judging by depictions of the horned demon, we're pretty sure this is way more effective than even the biggest lump of coal in one's stocking.
Because the mere image of this goat demon isn't scary enough, many Alpine towns host Krampuslauf, or Krampus runs, during Christmastime. Like your typical Christmas parade, participants dress up and walk down the streets, interacting with bystanders. Unlike your typical Christmas parade, Krampuslauf participants dress in frightening costumes, scare children, play with fire and pretend to hold people captive. Oh, and the whole thing is fueled by copious amounts of schnapps, so things can get pretty crazy.
The procession ends up looking like a snowy Halloween horror show to many westerners. However, it's a beloved Germanic tradition that seems to bring smiles to the faces of the people watching, so I guess we can't knock it until we try it.
Still not sure what's up with Krampus? Listen to Austrian actor Christoph Waltz explain the Germanic tradition to Jimmy Fallon.