Krampusnacht: Twelve Nights of Krampus

This short story collection (206 pages) was published in November of 2014 by World Weaver Press. The book takes you to an alternative Christmas. Melissa read Krampusnacht and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if she didn't recommend it.



Twelve Nights of Krampus

Kate Wolford

You better watch out; you just might cry. Krampus is coming to town. Half-goat, half-demon, with scruffy dark hair, fangs, curled horns, and an uncomfortably long tongue, Krampus is armed with chains and a bundle of birch sticks, all the better to lash out at naughty children before dragging them down to the underworld.

The name comes from the German word krampen, meaning claws, and Krampus is the antihero of Christmas in Central European folklore. In this story collection, the furry monster inspires tales with ironic twists, affecting family dynamics, dire consequences, and offbeat Christmas spirit.

Elizabeth Twist’s story ‘Prodigious’ was inspired by a collection of vintage Krampus postcards. It’s the tale of an unusual toy story and a beleaguered employee forced to wear a stinky Krampus costume at the company Christmas party. Darkly funny with a diabolical twist at the end.

‘The Wicked Child’ by Elise Forier Edie is a fairy tale about a good girl everyone agrees is wicked. The Dickensian story ‘A Visit’ by Lissa Sloan compels us to consider the question Who is truly wicked? Other stories feature a town with a Christmas amusement park, an extraordinary doll, a Santa who desperately needs therapy, and a retired cop who faces his dark past with a little help from Krampus.

Editor Kate Wolford has really good taste, and this anthology is wildly entertaining. There are 12 tales in the collection, so if you begin on 13 December, you could read one every day and finish on Christmas, preferably by candlelight while nibbling on homemade shortbread or Russian Teacakes. Or stay up way too late in one glorious nacht of thrills, chills, and jingle bells.

‘Krampus is not a man. Krampus is a beast. He is a beast with tangled black fur, horns like a goat, and a pointed tongue as long as my arm. He walks on two cloven feet. He carries a great basket on his back and a birch rod in his hand. Do you know what those are for?’

The children shook their heads, their eyes as large as dinner plates. ‘The birch rod is for whipping naughty children.’ — Lissa Sloan, ‘A Visit’

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Holiday choice: A charming coming-of-age story in snowy Philadelphia, or eerie stories starring Krampus, the Christmas-y demon who drags bad children to the underworld. Or both! 'Cause what good is nice without naughty?!
'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring... except the book lovers hoping to find a comfy chair, a cozy and compelling read, a cup of hot cocoa, and a plate of cookies.
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