|Dwight Schrute as Belsnickel (If you do nothing else, watch this video. It is too funny.) Via|
Turns out, Belsnickel is a cousin of the Germanic Christmas devil, Krampus, a contrasting figure to Jolly Old Saint Nick who would bundle naughty children into a basket and trundle them away to his dark world (I was reminded of this connection last night after a friend jokingly suggested I sick Krampus on my naughty three-year-old. I had put her in time-out and told her, "Santa is watching you, and he is very disappointed in your behavior," to which she emphatically replied, "Santa is NOT at my house, and I KNOW it." I swear everyday is like battling a miniature version of myself.)
|Because nothing says "Merry Christmas" like a Krampus greeting card.|
The figure is also preserved in Pennsylvania Dutch communities. The Belsnickel shows up at houses 1–2 weeks before Christmas and often created fright because he always knew exactly which of the children misbehaved. He is typically very ragged and mean looking. He wears torn, tattered, and dirty clothes, and he carries a switch in his hand with which to beat bad children. The children escape unharmed, but they are scared into being good so that Santa will bring them presents on Christmas."
I plan to continue my family's tradition of Belsnickel, leaving little presents on the hearth. Who knows, though? Maybe I'll bring back some of the scarier bits. It might get Sophie to behave;) (if not, I'm already stocked up on coal). Happy Tuesday! Now, back to grading. #livingthedream A/J