What the ...?

The people of yesteryear certainly had an interesting sense of celebration. And by interesting, I mean sort of twisted. While I'm sure the holiday cards of their era were totally normal to them, when we look at them today, we can say they are off-putting, to say the least. 

Several cards from back in the day gave nod to that old miser himself, Krampus. Pretty much any card with a devilish-looking thing tormenting children is depicting the sinister sidekick of St. Nicholas. Krampus is just one of a group of "companions" that accompany St. Nick throughout his travels in folklore. The horde of horror is the antithesis of our favorite gift-giving fellow, doling out their own version of punishment to naughty boys and girls.

Krampus has quite the story. Cloven-hooved and behorned, he is often portrayed with characteristics of the devil. The hairy baddie follows St. Nick around and gives all the bad seeds out there coal and bundles of birch branches. This goat-like villain even has his own night, December 5, known as Krampusnacht, where hordes of Krampus flood the streets of Schladming, Styria, for an awesomely creepy parade. 

But Krampus isn't the only odd thing that the Victorians felt needed to be doodled on a Christmas card. Headless eggs, frog murders, dead robins, and much more made their way into holiday well-wishes.  

We have compiled some fantastic and nightmare-inducing examples of old-style greetings around Christmas and the new year. This isn't a stroll down Hallmark lane, mind you, but through a holiday horror show of the creepy and bizarre.

Click the Next button below to get started, if you dare ...