Saturday, December 24, 2005

Operation: Krumpus.










Above: Said Krumpus


It's the night before Christmas....now how do we put an end to this stupid shit?

Outside of the fevered minds of Fox News anchors, there is no war on Christmas: but I'm starting one, motherfuckers! And the key to the downfall of Christmas as we know it, an end to the cloying sentiment, the crass, mindless materialism, the trauma of forced family commiseration, the spiraling consumer debt, can be found in one simple word: Krumpus.

Santa Claus, the mascot of Christmas's secular, consumerist identity, was essentially created at the turn of the 20th century as an advertising mascot for, among other products, Coca-Cola. It's no coincidence that Father Christmas became a pop culture icon at the dawn of American consumer society. Christmas, with it's tradition of heedless gift-giving, was a holiday tailor-made as an engine for consumerism. The figure of St. Nick had been a folk legend in Germany and Eastern Europe for centuries, but he was codified as a jolly, red suited gift giver in order to aid in the transformation of Christmas into the tinsel-and-garland-dripping monstrosity we know today. Those same be-spatted Victorian ad men who hoisted Santa Claus as the hood ornament for the new Model T o' consumption left out anther figure from the European folk Christmas pantheon: the krumpus.

While Santa made the rounds at the homes of Teutonic boys and girls on Christmas eve, doling out gifts to the good children, he traveled with a companion, a red-furred, switch-wielding, horned demon called the Krumpus (or, less humorously, the Krampus). His job was to swat the bottoms of bad children with his switch and, in extreme cases, carry the naughtiest of children away in the wicker basket strapped to his back. Anyone familiar with the sadistic German children's book Struwwelpeter will recognize this as good old fashioned Kraut child rearing: scare the shit out of kids and they'll behave. Effective as a parenting aid the Krumpus may have been, but it didn't make a good incentive to buy, so the folks who popularized Santa left the Krumpus wandering through the Black Forest.

What does this have to do with destroying Christmas as we know it? Well, it has to do with a simple fact: people go through horrible stresses year after year during the month of December, running themselves ragged, buying gifts they can't afford, spending time with people they hate, and struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder the whole time, and they hate every minute of it. So why do they do it? For the kids. Kids love Christmas. Because, for kids, Christmas is an unadulterated joy, a total win-win: they get presents, but they don't have pay to give them, they get to see their wacky relatives, but don't notice that some of them have drinking problems and other ones have a habit of making cutting remarks about their children's sexual preferences. Because Christmas is so much fun for children, their parents are compelled to indulge, year after year, in the holiday charade, lest they traumatize their kids for life. The answer is clear: Christmas has to be less enjoyable for children.

And that's where the Krumpus comes in.

Kids lay awake on Christmas eve, stomachs churning with anticipation, waiting for a happy, kind old man to come down their chimeny and shower them with gifts. What's not to like? Maybe, if we threw in a little angst, a little terror, on that Christmas eve, the kids would cool on the season a bit. If they lay awake in their beds, sweat streaming down their temples, terrified that a snarling, horned demon might sneak into their home and beat them with a stick or carry them off to hell. With Krumpus, comes terror, and with terror, comes a massive decline in childhood delight regarding Christmas.

That is why I propose that those of us who are strong of heart and dedicated to the end of Christmas spend the next December dressed in red fur, fangs and horns, and stalk this nation's shopping malls, swatting chilrden on the behind and haunting their nightmares for years to come. The ripple effects will be felt throughout the world, and eventually, the garish obscenity of Christmas will slowly fad from our memories.

And so I hereby declare the Krumpus to be the official mascot of Christman-mas.

4 Comments:

Blogger Robert J said...

Starring KRUMHOLTZ as Krumpus, of course.

6:49 PM  
Blogger matthew christman said...

you gotta know what a krumpet is to understand cricket!

7:12 PM  
Blogger Robert J said...

You gotta know what a Krumpus is to understand Christman-mas!

4:24 PM  
Blogger K said...

You're a genius and I love you.

9:47 PM  

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