11 of the Weirdest Christmas Traditions We Should Absolutely Bring Back

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Back in the old days, Santa had a posse. St. Nick’s rogue’s gallery of criminal associates went by different names in different places: Krampus, Schmutzli, Perchta, Knecht Ruprecht, Rubbels, Hanstrapp, Pelzebock, Klaubauf, and Belsnickel—but my favorite is Père Fouettard, or “Father Whipper.”

Fouettard is portrayed as a scrawny old man with an unkempt black beard and long hair, sometimes bound in chains. The legends say he was a butcher who captured three boys on their ways to boarding school, drugged them, slit their throats, and stewed them in a barrel. When St. Nick found out, he was not pleased. He resurrected the children, and forced Fouettard to accompany him on his Christmas Eve rounds, forcing him to whip all the bad boys and girls (which he probably enjoyed).

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