I've had this vintage Christmas bauble for as long as I can remember, but never knew where it came from. I think I might have sussed it out today though as this morning I saw a strand on vintage Kugel Christmas baubles on This Morning TV and then later on I saw one of these vintage German Krampus cards on the web. The ones shown below are sourced from an informative site Krampus.com. So a vague memory of the story began to come into consciousness, as I lived in Germany when I was a child, so I must have picked up the decoration then, along with the other Kugel ornaments I have.
The Krampus travels along on as the dark companion or anti-matter to St Nikolaus on the 6th December to challenge and take away the naughty children, much like the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He also reminds me of the Devil, the Capricorn card in the Tarot with his hairy good looks and chains that bind the sorry souls to earth with their illusionary materialism, which is appropriate for Christmas time being under the sign of Capricorn. Also very Saturnalian in characteristics too. The meaning is to banish the bad thoughts, worries and bad ghosts of the winter to help the people to fight against their fears, which is kind of the message of the tarot card devil too, a warning to fight the temptations of habit and limiting beliefs that restrict and bind us. So we can shuttle off those pesky little bad boys and Krampus will shove them in a basket and throw them down the chimney - hoorah.
On a more materialistic note, I discovered today that one of my vintage Kugel decorations, the grapes, is worth about £160 - eek, I don't think I want to tempt the cat with them this year.
So - have you been good or very very bad? Mwah ha ha hah...