Our yule logs have been burned, the Winter Solstice is passed, and we find ourselves, as Dr. Who once said, “Halfway out of the darkness.” And while January is “The Gate of the New Year,” and a time for setting fresh resolutions, this, winter’s second month, is literally and figuratively us … coming of the dark.

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Most of us have heard of, or are at least somewhat familiar with, the story of Santa Claus.

Popular in the US, Old Saint Nick is a jolly, red-suited fellow who’s belly shakes like a bowl full of jelly when he laughs, and on Christmas Eve night, flies around in a sleigh pulled by magic reindeer, eating cookies and delivering gifts to the children of the world. For the children on his naughty list, however, nothing in their stockings but fat lumps of coal.

For all the gift giving and magic flying, there are darker sides to this popular holiday figure.

In some parts of the world, dark creatures come out in the winter—some hungry, some mischievous—and some ‘not so merry’ myths that give new meaning to the word ‘sleigh’ …

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