- La Befana – An old witch-like hag who rode around on a broom stick. Much like Santa Claus, she would come down the chimneys and leave gifts to good children and coal and ash for naughty kids. She would whack children with her broom if they came out of their room to spy on her. On the lighter side, she was also known as the best house-keeper in Italy, and she would sweep the floor and chimney on her way out.
- The Yule Lads – 13 men who play mischievous tricks and are also known for leaving gifts in the shoes of good little boys and girls. Watch out if you are bad though, because you will either receive a rotten potato, or get eaten by a huge Yuletide cat! The Yule Lads range from Sheep-Cote Clod, a pegged-legged man who harassed sheep, to Candle-Stealer, who follows children around in order to steal their candles.
- Belsnickle – Portrayed as a vicious mountain man wearing a mask with a long tongue sticking out of it. Belsnickle is said to be the main disciplinarian of Santa’s posse. In Germany, on December 6th, he gives small gifts and candy to the good children, and coal and switches to the bad children. This is where the term “You better be good or you will get coal for christmas” comes from. He is also known for coming to the houses of bad children and warning them that they better be on their best behavior.
- Pere Noel – He is a lot like good ol’ St. Nick, just a little darker. The legend goes, that in the 1100’s Pere Noel and his wife kidnapped and killed 3 young men, and then cooked them into a stew. Once the gracious St. Nicholas found out about this, he brought the boys back to life and Pere Noel repented his evil ways. Pere Noel now leaves gifts in the shoes of good children, however if your are naughty he is equipped with chains and switches so that he can give deliver a nice flogging.
- Krampus – Much like Belsnickle, Krampus is Santa’s resident heavy. He is known for dishing out severe beatings to naughty kids on Christmas. Krampus is not really known for giving gifts, if you were lucky you would receive a stern warning. However, if you were a very naughty child, you would likely get kidnapped and thrown in a burlap sack then tossed into the closest river to drown.