The holidays are in full swing. Malls are getting increasingly more crowded, there’s Christmas music on the radio, and my grandmother recently mailed me a batch of the peanut butter fudge she always makes for the holidays. As you’re engaging in your favorite holiday rituals, from tree-trimming to caroling, I’d like to talk a bit about one of my favorite unusual Yuletide traditions: the Krampus.
Who Is Krampus?
You may be familiar with the Krampus thanks to the 2015 movie about him starring Adam Scott (If you haven’t seen it, don’t – it’s terrible). If you’re not, allow me to enlighten you. The Krampus is a half-goat, half-demon creature in Germanic folklore that handles punishing naughty children while St. Nicholas rewards the good ones. Punishments range from standard Christmas penalties like coal and switches to truly macabre stuff. According to some stories, the Krampus spirits bad children away to his lair where he turns them into soup! Apparently, the creators of the Krampus felt a little tough love was in order.
Speaking of his creators, the character’s origins aren’t totally clear, but they likely date to pre-Christian Alpine culture. Today, across Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Northern Italy, Krampus gets his own night. On December 6th, revelers dress in very metal-looking demon costumes and parade through the city streets in a tradition known as the Krampuslauf. These costumed folks knock on the doors of homes and businesses looking for wicked children to punish. If a Krampus comes a-knocking, inhabitants are encouraged to give him a glass of schnapps and send him on his way. Presumably, the Krampuses (Krampi?) end up very drunk and, one hopes, have a big party where they play Ride the Lightning and a bunch of Christmas Carols.
I’ve been enamored of the Krampus tradition since I first learned about it, and I have a bunch of pro-Krampus shirts that I like to wear at this time of year. I will concede, however, that Santa is a much nicer tradition than a bunch of marauding goat-demons. As I am wont to do, however, I started thinking about which of these holiday icons would be better at a game of trivia. Below, I’ve divided up the skills necessary for a good trivia player and tried to figure out whether Santa or Krampus would be better at each. Let’s take a look!
Santa Vs. Krampus | A Trivia Showdown
Obviously, the best way to be good at trivia is to know the answers to as many questions as possible. The more intellectual curiosity you have and the more information you can absorb, the better a reservoir of knowledge you’ll have when it’s time to answer some questions. Since Santa is basically omniscient according to “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” (to wit, “he sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good”) and I have no idea if the Krampus possesses similar powers, I have to give the edge to St. Nick here.
It’s not enough to just know a ton of stuff, though. You’ve also gotta be able to access it quickly and get your answers down and turned in to the host. Here, I think our demonic friend has the edge. Santa is, let’s say, generously proportioned, and likely to be a bit slower to get his answers in. Krampus, on the other hand, has powerful goat-legs and is used to chasing down folks for his stewpot. I think he’s gotta be faster.
Sporcle Live is built to be a team game. You can play alone, but it’s more fun and a lot easier if you’ve got a group of pals to help out. As we all know, Santa’s got a whole entourage. He manages a team of elves who help him build his toys, and he also has a team of reindeer to fly him around on Christmas Eve. The Krampus is, in his original incarnation, a solitary figure. The introduction of the Krampuslauf parade, however, means that he’s getting more accustomed to working as part of a group. This is a really tough one, and might be too close to call.
I always say that if you can’t get the answer right, try to make the host laugh, because you might get a random bonus point thrown your way. Unusual and off-the-wall answers are always fun to read, and occasionally a blind guess turns out to be right. This is another tough one, because Santa has to figure out a way to build Playstations out of wood blocks, but I admire the out of the box thinking that the Krampus brings to enforcing behavioral standards. Ultimately, I think Santa is probably a more creative guy, though.
One of the keys to winning a game of Sporcle Live is making sure you manage your points correctly and that you bet well on the final question. Almost every week I see a team lose even though they get more questions right than the winner because they don’t wager properly. So being a canny negotiator of your points is crucial. Santa may be a beloved figure, but I’d much rather see him across the poker table from me than a goat-demon.
All in all, the two seem pretty evenly matched. I think the question boils down to whether you’d rather have a jolly, bearded elf or a terrifying hellspawn at your table for two hours. I’ll take Krampus myself, for intimidation purposes.
If you liked this post, you might also enjoy this one: 7 Christmas Monsters That Will Ruin Your Holidays.
Editor’s Note: This post was written by Seth Wilson, a Private Events Manager for Sporcle Live and a Pub Trivia host. He also happens to be a 12-time Jeopardy! champion, so he knows a thing or two about trivia.