Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Very Krampus Christmas

When I'm not immersing myself in ridiculous amounts of research, jewelry making, or conference directing, I take a quick visit to my other job. And by other, I mean my 40+ hours per week time spent as a high school English/Spanish teacher. I pretty much roll out of bed at 4:30 roll in at about 11 every night. As Grandma Dolly would say; "a mover and shaker!"

But this story is not about me. It's about my students and their wonderful sense of humor.

You see, throughout the year we have doorway decorating contests. The teachers love to design adorable seasonal delights, using stickers and glitter and goodness. Needless to say, I skip the "cute" doorways with adorable little paper cutouts or dangling hearts. Around November 1st I usually bust out my Dia de los Muertos kit, complete with skulls and beckoning skeletons. Christmas is difficult. How do you make a holiday about giving and cheer "uncute?"

Amid the dainty drawn reindeer and designer wrapped presents, my students had one answer: Krampus. And boy did they run with it...
What's that you say?
What's a Krampus?
Oh, I see!
I spy a giving St. Nicholas. What happens if you're naughty?
Why yes when you open the door, Krampus licks the crying children...
He even tops the Christmas tree!
Inspiration for Gene Simmons?

I did a little digging too to find some of the history of our horned friend. The Smithsonian did not fail! Click here to learn more:

In fact, Krampus’ roots have nothing to do with Christmas. Instead, they date back to pre-Germanic paganism in the region. His name originates with the German krampen, which means “claw,” and tradition has it that he is the son of the Norse god of the underworld, Hel. During the 12th century, the Catholic Church attempted to banish Krampus celebrations because of his resemblance to the devil. More eradication attempts followed in 1934 at the hands of Austria’s conservative Christian Social Party. But none of it held, and Krampus emerged as a much-feared and beloved holiday force.
I kept finding Christmas cards with the monstrously delightful creature either beating or eating children. My only hope is that our door inspired good behavior in my students! Regardless, I enjoyed talking about different holiday traditions with them. They read stories, looked at primary sources, and compared/contrasted them with out own culture today. I am slowly creating a world of researchers, I promise.

Also, we horrified  educated the teachers who chose to do snowflakes or adorable reindeer. 'Tis the season! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and just enjoy your life for the rest of 2017!

~Kristen

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