But in many parts of the world, the story of his companion, Krampus, has somehow fallen to the back pages of history.
While Santa brings gifts to good kids, Krampus is there to drag the bad ones away in his own sack, probably not for an all-you-can-carry visit to a local toy store.
Krampus is so eager to play his role in the Christmas season that he doesn't even wait until Christmas -- and even today, he's "celebrated" in early December in parts of Italy, Germany and Austria.
There, parades and festivals are held to terrorize local children and probably bring laughs and booze to the adults -- especially the ones wearing the Krampus costumes, like this guy.
At least, I think that's a costume.
This photo was from the Krampus procession in Burgeis, Italy on Dec. 4, 2011.