"Since prehistory, the winter solstice has been seen as a significant time of year in many cultures, and has been marked by festivals and rituals. It marked the symbolic death and rebirth of the Sun."
Today is the winter solstice: the shortest day, and the longest night. During this time of year, where night stretches on and the cold deepens, there are some demons who grow restless and bold. As you stoke your hearth to guard against the long, cold night, watch for these demons and the signs of their activities.
In the far north, there was an ancient war between humans and the original gods of the forest. As the age of humankind waned, the power of the god waxed. In a desperate bid to protect themselves, they used wild, untested magic to transform humans into wicked creatures of ice and death. These cruel demons broke free of the control of their creators and became a threat to all living things. Any who died in their presence were raised as wights and added to a growing army of undead slaves. Eventually the humans and forest gods banded together and trapped the demons behind an unbreakable wall of ice. Over time they disappeared, but some say they still wander the frozen north and will return one day to threaten the living. Beware the White Walkers.
Under the ground where there is no light, impish demons toil. They are covered in black hair, with hooves like goats, and long tails – otherwise they resemble small, repulsive humans. When they are not eating worms or insulting each other, they are constantly hacking and sawing at the roots of the world tree. If they ever completed their task, the world as we know it would come to an end. But they are stupid, and love mischief more than they hate the world. On Christmas, when the sun hides away and seems to stop, these demons are compelled to come to the surface and cause trouble. If they manage to enter your home, they will steal your liquor, destroy your possessions, and worse. But they are stupid, and easily guarded against: keeping a fire in your hearth will prevent them from entering through your chimney; burning incense will confound their sense of smell; and leaving a colander on your doorstep will distract them as they try to count the holes. By the time the sun returns and the days lengthen, they will retreat underground and discover that the world tree has completely healed itself in their absence. They may be dumb, but they are foul little demons, so while the nights are long beware the Kallikantzaroi.
We are all familiar with the jolly saint who flies through the sky on Christmas Eve as if on a Wild Hunt, but there is another demon who often accompanies him to the houses of children around the world. This demon stands tall, with the legs and horns of a goat. His tongue is long, like a whip which slides out from between his fangs. He is wrapped with chains and carries an empty sack on his back. When he finds a child who has misbehaved he may whip them with his chains. When he finds a child of evil, he deposits them in the sack and carries them back to the underworld. Some say this demon originated in the underworld as the offspring of its ruler Hel. Although this demon is terrifying, children who behave have no need to fear. If you suspect your children may be targetted, he is supposedly a fan of schnapps. To those children who are pure evil: beware Krampus.