December 30, 2012

A Public Service Announcement From Krampus, By Jude Tulli

Editor's note: During a holiday season when children are wanting more electronic gifts than ever, Jude's up-to-the-minute look at Krampus seems appropriate. And yet, somehow, the part that starts with "keep tripping" is so "kids these days." It's a good combination.

Children, you don't have to be good
There's an app for that now

And coal is great for warming
your contemps into the Wii hours

You'll be a fiery hero!
They might even let you play a turn

If no one were naughty
I'd be but an oversized elf

Hauling sleighfuls of toys from the workshop or
Blowing red noses for glass ornaments

Your poor choices make me number two Yuletidings-bearer
For centuries running so if you please,

Keep tripping! Keep shoving! Keep lying and thieving!
Keep hitting! Keep biting! Keep underachieving!

Other kids have to worry all year
While your monkeys ain't stuck in no barrel

The naughty list is where it's at
"Because nice is just a social construct"

Jude Tulli loves and writes short and novel-length fairy tales. He has had work published in EC in the past. Jude lives in the Sonoran Desert with his beloved wife Trish and a small pride of housecats.



  1. This is brilliant - witty and wicked! I really enjoyed it.

  2. Love the attitude! Good job.

  3. The last line in this poem really confirms the tone within the whole piece, “because nice is just a social construct”. If you I were to have a conversation with him in real life, I think I would expect him to sound the way he has been depicted in this poem. He wants children to behave badly, right? So why wouldn’t he make it seem appealing? Actively rebelling against niceness verses simply being a “bad” child seem like two different ideas. The motivation behind the behavior comes into question then, if Krampus is persuading children to stay bad. He is painting almost a “hipster” viewpoint of being “bad”. Why blend in with the other kids who are “good”, when you can join me and be bad? One could argue that Krampus’s reasoning is actually rooted in selfishness. In lines seven and eight, he even admits his job would not exist if it weren’t for the children who misbehave. Of course he is being selfish, but he does a great job selling his side.

  4. Reading this poem, I almost get a sense that the Krampus is relieved in modern times. It is almost as if the presence of technology guarantees children to be awry (and maybe this is a completely true statement). Not only is he enticing children to do wrong, but the way he bribes the children (“And coal is great for warming / your contemps into the Wii hours”) is so relevant. By that I mean, what child would not want an excuse to play the Wii comfortably for hours? Who cares if they behave badly, as long as the room is kept warm while video games are being played? It almost takes a snowball effect: the coal is given, the room is warm, everyone plays a game, and it lasts for hours (“they might even let you play a turn”). The children’s naughtiness fuels the Krampus, who in return, further fuels the naughtiness. This almost makes laziness a bigger sin than simple naughtiness in the original context.