In America, goats are generally not associated with Christmas. Europe, however, is a different beast: In one way or another, the horned omnivores are present in many countries' holiday traditions. Longtime Cracked readers may remember Krampus, the merry Austrian Christmas devil who hangs out with Santa and, oh yeah, abducts naughty kids and carries them to hell.
Even the girl who WASN'T naughty gets the total shit-gift of apples.
However, he's just one of the many traditional holiday hellbeasts roaming the old country. Scandinavian countries have the Yule Goat, an oddly dressed character that travels to houses along with other Christmas characters, frightening children and generally looking creepy as fuck. In Norway, groups of Yule Goats have traditionally indulged in a practice called julebukking, running around in costume imitating animal behavior, wreaking havoc, and scaring the snot out of children.
Inside that costume, there is a creature that used to be a man.
Finland ups the ante with a wonderfully crazy fringe character called Nuuttipukki -- a full-on horror movie monster who goes from house to house after the holidays, emptying the larder and drinking all the beer. If you don't get him drunk enough, a curse will fall on your house and the whole year will be a conga line of ridiculously bad luck. Nuuttipukki usually turns up as late as Jan. 13, thus turning the first weeks of a new year into a nonstop orgy of panicked waiting.
Why They Need to Be a Part of the Holidays:
"Gimme all your beer, it's for the holidays. C'mon, don't make this weird."
Because they're awesome, that's why. These guys would essentially give us the option of turning Christmas into a second Halloween, only we could replace trick-or-treating with gift-giving, Christmas-style, and rampant drinking, Nuuttipukki-style. I don't know about you, but "Halloween with gifts and even more booze" sure seems like the best idea in human history to me.
This prospect has not gone entirely unnoticed. Krampus parties are already a thing in America and, of course, the character makes regular appearances in Austrian Christmas celebrations. And dressing up as creepy horn-beasts is just scratching the surface of the goat theme's full potential: For instance, the Swedish town of Gavle builds a giant, $30,000 Christmas straw goat every year. Once the Gavle Goat is up, half the townspeople rampantly protect it, while the other half apparently conspire to burn it down.
Sure, they could just build two of them every year, but it's way more fun this way.
You know what? Let's bring that tradition in as well. This season, let's all just say fuck it to regular Christmas, drink some beer, wear weird goat costumes, and build great big things out of straw. Because if there is a more badass way to celebrate the spirit of the holidays than a horde of drunken Nuuttipukkis playing a city-wide game of arson tag, I have no idea what it could be.
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As 2013 draws to a close, be sure to check out Cracked's year in review because, well, we know you don't remember it half as well as you think.