Lights are shining bright, families are decorating their trees, and the best Christmas tunes are playing all day long. The holiday season is finally here. When people think of Christmas, their first thoughts are usually Santa, Rudolph, and Frosty the Snowman. These characters embrace the Christmas spirit better than anyone. But throughout time we’ve heard plenty of stories about evil Christmas characters too. If you think the Grinch and Ebenezer Scrooge are bad, just wait till you read this list of Creepy Christmas Urban Legends. Who knew the most wonderful time of year is also one of the scariest times of year?

Krampus

Krampus is the devilish companion of Santa. He’s a half goat, half demon that is believed to have originated in Austria. While Santa travels around giving gifts to all the good children on Christmas, Krampus takes care of the troublemakers. If Krampus catches you acting a fool, you can expect him to beat you with branches, throw you in a sack, and drag you back to his lair for punishment…The last thing you want this holiday season is a visit from this horrifying Christmas creature!

Grýla

Grýla is an Icelandic urban legend that’s sure to keep you up at night. She’s an ugly giantess who has an appetite for evil. When Christmastime rolls around, the repulsive beast leaves her cave in the mountains and heads into town searching for naughty children. Grýla loves children who misbehave. They’re her favorite snack! If Grýla catches you acting up, she’ll drag you back to her cave and toss you in her stew. YUM!

The Yule Cat

The Yule Cat is another Icelandic urban legend. The viscous cat is the pet of Grýla…how cute! Just like its owner, the Yule Cat enjoys eating people during the holidays. It lurks in the snowy countryside and targets people who didn’t received new clothes for Christmas. It’s safe to say this fierce feline acts as the ultimate fashion police!

Belsnickel

Belsnickel is a German urban legend and although he’s a bit intimidating, he’s actually a pretty good dude! He brings treats to all the good children at Christmastime, including cakes and candies. But similar to the others, Belsnickel doesn’t take kindly to misbehaving children. Instead of giving the bad kids a treat, he greets them with a whipping with his signature switch. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, it’s probably best to avoid any mischief around the holidays…

Frau Perchta

Welp, we definitely saved the scariest for last. Frau Perchta is an urban legend from Upper Germany and Austrian regions. She’s also known as “The Belly-Slitter” thanks to her unique way of punishing people at Christmastime… Frau Perchta would kill people by slitting open their stomach and stuffing them with straw and stones. She also ate people! Perchta targeted those with dirty homes, people who worked during the 12 days of Christmas, and, of course, naughty kids. Most of all, she HATES lazy people. Here’s to wishing that your belly is full of dinner and dessert this holiday instead of straw and stones.

We hope you sleep with one eye open this Christmas! You never know who, or what, could be lurking…Interested in learning about more urban legends? Check out 12 Chilling Urban Legends Guaranteed to Make You Lose Sleep Tonight. We’re sure it’ll give you a good scare.