Big Man and Krampus

Nothing about Chanukah prohibits writing or posting during the holiday, but for the past couple of weeks circumstances have again worked against me getting things online. I dearly hope I'm able to get a bunch of reviews up, and soon, so that they can be linked to in my year-end lists of favorites — if there's no progress between now and Christmas, I fear a visit from the Krampus.

The above vintage Austrian postcard featuring the Krampus is but one
of the many representations of the demon you'll find around the Interwebs.

Okay, the Krampus actually made his rounds earlier this month. And despite my father's side of the family having German roots, I don't remember any childhood tales of him or Pelznikel or Knecht Ruprecht or St. Nick's other companions of European folklore; my only exposure to them has been through the nightly-news features and History Channel specials that pop up perennially this time of year, exploring versions of the Santa Claus/Kris Kringle/Father Christmas legend from around the world and through the centuries. Grandma & Grandpa Lamken's house was decorated in straight-up mainstream American fashion as far as I can recall, with elves and angels and a great big tree.

Perhaps because Christmas and Chanukah have always been intertwined for me in largely secular fashion, neither the commercialism of American Christmas nor the pagan roots of many of its symbols have ever bothered me from a Jewish or Christian perspective. The whole of December is one big Festival of Lights in my mind, with the eight nights of Chanukah and Christmas Day times of palpable peace and joy to be contemplated, appreciated, and shared. I suppose it's not too early to stray into treacle if it keeps my unbroken string of coal-free stockings and lack of devilish visitations intact, but I'll save further ruminations on the subject for a dispatch scheduled to appear at the end of the week. Merry Christmas to all, and to all my distant Germanic cousins a good fright!

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