For some people, the joy of Christmas only grows stronger as they get old. This is true for Longmont resident and first-time author Devin Arloski and his sons. Inspired by a his eldest son’s growing interest in Christmas, a trip overseas and a villain, Arloski recently released his first book — The Christmas Curse of Krampus, a children’s book that tells a classic folklore holiday tale.
The short chapter book, although intended for children between the ages of 9 and 12, is for people who love the holidays, who are kids at heart and for parents and grandparents to read aloud to their families, especially during the holiday season, Arloski said.
For Arloski, the idea for The Christmas Curse of Krampus came from a trip to Europe he took with his family approximately two years ago.
At the time, Arloski’s sons were 7- and 10-years-old. That year, his 10-year-old son was starting to be interested in Christmas, Santa and all things holiday related, he said. A Christmas lover himself, Arloski wanted to prolong his son’s belief in the magic of the Christmas season and show him how other cultures celebrate the holiday.
Arloski and his family traveled to Germany and France to visit the special Christmas markets. There, he felt inspired by the beauty, tradition and local folklore of the famous Christmas markets.
“It’s like Disney World for Christmas,” Arloski said. “They decorate the streets and the squares and have all kinds of vendors and foods and activities for kids — it’s pretty remarkable. And they’ve been doing it for hundreds and hundreds of years.”
Specifically, Arloski was fascinated by stories of Krampus, “a sort of anti-Santa creature” who’s part of the Christmas traditions in southern Germany and northern Austria, he said.
In Alpine tradition, Krampus is a mythical half-goat, half-man creature who assists St. Nicholas during the holiday season by punishing children who have misbehaved.
Learning about Krampus’ role in foreign Christmas traditions, Arloski was reminded of the way villains are glorified in America, he said, which led him to fantasize about a story “that would bring Krampus to the United States in conjunction with a good holiday story for Christmas time.”
Upon his return home, Arloski researched books that featured Krampus and found that they were either intended for adults or small children. “There weren't really any kind of stories out there for that 9 to 12 age group, which feels like a vital time in life,” he said.
Arloski, who had never studied English nor written any kind of book previously, drew from his inspiration, creative mind, kid-at-heart spirit and love for the holidays to write The Christmas Curse of Krampus.
As he wrote, Arloski felt like his thoughts flowed naturally onto the pages and, in the end, the story was good, he said. He spent the next two years working with a professional editor and illustrator to make revisions to the book.
After being denied by several publishing companies, Arloski decided to go the self-publishing route, he said.Today, The Christmas Curse of Krampus is available for purchase on Amazon. Soon, Arloski expects the book will be available also as an ebook.