It's never too early to start thinking about Krampus, the dark side of Santa (or Saint Nicholas, as in this photo from Austria).
Santa brings goodies in a sack, Krampus puts you in the sack.
For parents, Krampus was a useful bogey: "Be good, or else Krampus will carry you off!" Krampus was especially useful during long, cold winters in remote villages where children were cooped up in the house for weeks at a time and adults struggled to get them to behave. Was it cruel to warn them that Krampus would come and punish them? To reinforce the fiction of Krampus, masked figures would appear in winter parades. They visited homes to ask parents which children had been naughty and which had been nice. That way, parents could defend their children from Krampus and play the good guy.
I am an author and folklorist based in Portland, Oregon.
The Great Dictionary Caper, illustrated by Eric Comstock (Paula Wiseman Books, Simon & Schuster, 2018)
**Starred reviews from Publishers' Weekly, Kirkus, and Booklist.
Wild About Books, illustrated by Marc Brown. (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2004). New York Times Bestseller, ALA Notable Book, and winner of the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award.
Imagine That! How Dr. Seuss Wrote 'The Cat in the Hat"
(Random House, 2017). Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes.
*Starred reviews from Publishers' Weekly and Kirkus.