15 Bizarre Santa Claus Legends Around The World – Including The Ghoulish Krampus

Published December 21, 2017
Updated September 12, 2018

From Santa Claus to Krampus, and everything in between, there are dozens of different Santa legends found around the world.

Ded Moroz
Black Peter (1)
15 Bizarre Santa Claus Legends Around The World – Including The Ghoulish Krampus
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Christmas comes but once a year... but exactly how many different figures besides Santa Claus are responsible for bringing Christmas cheer to kids around the world?

Though Santa Claus and his eight reindeer shimmy down chimnies across America on Christmas Eve, he's hardly the only mythical being who comes by around the holidays.

In Europe, there are countless Santa-like figures, such as St. Nicholas, Sinterklaas, and Joulupukki, who have a big white beard and a jolly laugh. There are also variations of Santa's little helpers as well. While the U.S. Santa has elves, Sinterklaas has Black Peter. Father Christmas, a favorite in Europe shows up on a Yule Goat, similarly to how Santa's reindeer guide his sleigh.

Then, there are legends that are a little scarier, such as Krampus, who follows St. Nicholas around and punishes children who have misbehaved.

Some of the legends aren't necessarily Christmas specific, like La Befana, who shows up at the Feast of Epiphany to fill children's socks with candy.

Regardless of which legend you buy into or indulge your children in each year, one thing is for sure – people around the world seem to be super okay with home invasions around the holidays as long as gifts are involved.

Next, read more about Krampus, the anti-Santa Claus. Then, check out how Santa's face has changed over time.

Katie Serena
Katie Serena is a New York City-based writer and a staff writer at All That's Interesting.