The Christmas elf and demonThe real Saint Nicholas was most likely the Bishop of Myra in Asia Minor who in one of most famous stories concerns his giving three bags of gold to the daughters of a poor man and thus saving them from lives of prostitution. Later tradition transformed the bags into three gold balls, which became the symbol of pawnbrokers.
However in the 1840s an elf in Nordic folklore called "Tomte" or "Nisse" started to deliver the Christmas presents in Denmark. The Tomte was portrayed as a short, bearded man dressed in gray clothes and a red hat. Over time this image has clanged into the one we know if today as the big fat elf in a red and white suit.
The Krampus is a demon in various regions of the world that is believed to accompany St. Nicholas during the Christmas season, warning and punishing bad children, in contrast to St. Nicholas, who gives gifts to good children. The Krampus roams around frightening children with rusty chains and birch twigs. He also has an tradition of birching bad children. In images of the Krampus his is usually shown with a basket on his back used to carry away bad children and dump them into the pits of Hell.