Reader Loulou wants to know if kringle and Kris Kringle of Christmas fame are in any way related. Loulou, it seems not, though lots of kringle is sold around Christmas time, no question. Santa’s pseudonym “Kris Kringle” actually comes from a completely different source than the word “kringle” (see the below post). That name is an evolution of the German word “Kriskind”, a figure from Central European Christmas tradition.
Kriskind is a “Christ child”, an angelic figure who brings presents to the boys and girls that have been good all year. The bad ones have to deal with a sort of anti-Kriskind by the name of Belznikel (a bearded “nasty guy in furs”) who shows up a few weeks ahead of time with a fat stick and a sack, both of which he employs liberally to punish the n’er do wells. Or at least he once did. Nowadays, so I understand it, Belznickel is a lot tamer than he used to be, if he even shows up at all. Apparently the American Santa Claus (who is sort of a combination of these two) is starting to make Kriskind and Belznikel obsolete, at least in some parts of Europe.