Santa Solo

by wjw on December 30, 2010

I’ve noticed that in many European countries, St. Nicholas seems to have a helper.  Black Peter, Krampus, Knecht Ruprecht, Hanstrappe, Belzeniggl, Pere Fouettard . . . there are rather a lot of them all told.   In the Czech Republic, St. Nicholas has two assistants, Angel and Devil.

St. Nicholas and his assistants have a fairly clear division of labor.  Nick rewards the good children, and the assistant punishes the baddies.  Exactly how the assistant does this varies depending on the location.  Black Peter may have started out as Hajji Firuz, but by now he’s a proper Christian saint, just like Nicholas, so he’s fairly mild.  (In fact he’ll stuff you in a sack and carry you to Spain, which in the days of the Inquisition was probably terrifying, but now seems like a very pleasant holiday.)

Krampus, on the other hand, is an actual demon from Hell.  Demon, as in tear-you-limb-from-limb demon.  Demon, as in impale-you-on-a-pitchfork demon.  Demon, as in drag you into the flames of Hell for all eternity demon.  (Usually, though, Krampus settles for flogging the flesh from the child’s bones.)

What a proper saint like Nicholas is doing hanging around with someone like Krampus is best left to the Swiss-German imagination.

In the Anglo-Saxon world, though, Father Christmas is a solo act.  He decides who’s naughty and nice all by himself, and he does the rewarding and punishing as well.

I’ve realized that this is because continental Europe is mainly composed of decadent socialists, who try to provide full employment to layabouts like Hanstrappe and Knecht Ruprecht and even (probably in the name of multiculturalism) Krampus, who hails from Hell. (Hel-loo!  Demon from Hell here!  Do we think this is maybe a problem?)

The Anglo-Saxon world, on the other hand, created and perfected capitalism.  We expect our Santa to hand out the Christmas bonuses and dish out the punishments like any chief executive.

So what if he has to work a lot of overtime?  We don’t care.  We want our presents and we want them delivered all in a single night, and we want them all properly labeled and delivered to the right addresses.

And if Santa doesn’t deliver, we’ll kick his fat ass into a snowdrift and get a new Santa wh0’s younger and hungrier and maybe understands social media (because we understand you need that nowadays).  Because if you don’t cut the mustard in a capitalist country, you should fucking starve. And never mind the coal in the stocking, he could burn it for heat, it’s as bad as a handout . . .  Let him burn the pink slip, see how warm that gets him.

And quite frankly we need St. Nicholas to lose weight.  Because we don’t want to pay the taxes to support the guy after he’s had a triple bypass from stuffing himself with lefse and bizcochitos and reindeer sausage and other holiday fare.

Which makes me think that there may be a point to Black Peter after all.  Because, you know, he’s an Iranian, he’d probably work for next to nothing.  Have St. Nicholas train him, then can the old bastard and promote the immigrant into his place.

And that way, you’ll get your holiday presents for even less than the nothing you’re paying now.

God, I love the holidays . . .

Charlie Martin January 1, 2011 at 2:00 am


wjw January 1, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Elves certainly make the goodies, but they don’t charge out on Christmas Eve, armed with whips to punish children. That doesn’t seem to be in their remit.

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