Yesterday, I was talking to Brandi about Christmas traditions and I hit on one with which she was completely unfamiliar. It also happens to be one of the coolest holiday concepts in the history of mankind: the Krampus.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

See, here in the United States, we have pleasant Christmas characters: a jolly fat guy in a red suit, an underestimated reindeer that beats the odds, an anthropomorphic snowman (which is actually kind of terrifying when you think about ice and snow coming to life and somehow having a smoking habit).

In the Alps, though, they have a different tradition. It goes back to long before celebrations of Christmas and even the advent of Christianity: The Krampus. He has been incorporated into modern St. Nicholas celebrations as his evil counterpart; whereas jolly ol' St. Nick either rewards you with presents or punishes you with coal, the Krampus actually chains you up in his lair if you misbehave.

Appropriately, during this time of year in parts of Austria, Croatia, Hungary, and a few other countries, young men celebrate the Krampus, wandering the streets in all of his horned, devilish glory, dragging chains, pitchforks, flaming objects, and all sorts of other implements of destruction to terrify children who have been misbehaving.

You better not shout, you better not cry
You better not pout I'm telling you why

(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Cuz this guy could wreck your holiday way more than a lump of coal.