Meet Belsnickel, the Counter Claus

 

Santa Claus, the pleasant bearded elf dressed in red (in case you thought I was referring to some other Santa Claus), was not predestined to be a worldwide Christmas icon and beloved Coca-Cola pitchman.How different our Christmases would be if the annual chimney descent of “Sinterklaas” had remained a Dutch folk custom and instead America had embraced — and then exported to the world — a somewhat more curious and more frightening Pennsylvania tradition.

Source: The Next Page: Meet Belsnickel, the Counter Claus | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 

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