The Legend...

There once was a hideous horrible ogre named Grýla who lived in Iceland. Her home was in a cave far up in the mountains, where she lived with her troll-husband and her hundreds of troll-children. She was very ugly, with many long tails and feet like a cow. She had ten ears on either side of her head and could hear the sounds of children's complaints from miles away. She kept track of children who didn't do their chores, were mean to other people, or behaved badly. She would to sneak down to the villages and steal away those kids. Then, she fattened them up to turn them into bad kids stew!

Now, in Iceland, during the summertime, the sun shines until almost until midnight and it's morning again very early. But in the wintertime, it gets dark in the late afternoon and the sun doesn't come up until almost noon! So, Grýla waited until winter to collect the bad children - keeping a list of them the rest of the year. She often traveled with her giant mean cat, a scary wicked beast. Jólakötturinn - the Christmas Cat - waited until Christmas Day to eat children who didn't get clothes for Christmas!

Of Grýla's many troll-children, there were thirteen that especially liked the villager's Christmas-time celebrations. They liked Christmas so much that they became known as Jólasveinar - The Yule Lads. They were generally troublesome because they all liked to steal treats and play pranks. Every year, they come down from the mountain, one by one, starting on December 12th. Another Yule Lad arrives each day, through Christmas Eve. Then, starting Christmas Day, they go home, one by one, in the order they arrived.

They are all different in their mischief, so beware of their tricks! They may steal the milk, or empty the cookie jar, even swipe your sparkliest treasures. They can't help it - they're trolls after all. Over the years, they've tried to be more like Santa - if you leave your shoes out by the window, each one will leave a gift on the day they arrive, but only if you're good. Bad children usually get a rotten potato!

The Icelandic Yule Lads

Loves Sheep's (or Goat's) Milk!

Stekkjarstaur - Sheep Cote Clod

Arrives December 12th
Icelandic Name Pronounced [stek' ya stir]

Arrives December 12th
Icelandic Name Pronounced [stek' ya stir]
Steals all the spoons from the kitchen to lick!

Þvörusleikir - Spoon Licker

Arrives December 15th
Icelandic Name Pronounced [Thur' a slay ker]

Arrives December 15th
Icelandic Name Pronounced [Thur' a slay ker]
Makes a terrible racket when you're trying to sleep

Hurðaskellir - Door Slammer

Arrives December 18th
Icelandic Name Pronounced [Her' tha sket ler]

Arrives December 18th
Icelandic Name Pronounced [Her' tha sket ler]
Loves all things sparkly and shiny!

Gluggagægir - Window Peeper

Arrives December 21st
Icelandic Name Pronounced [glugga' guy year]

Arrives December 21st
Icelandic Name Pronounced [glugga' guy year]
Love cow's milk!

Giljagaur - Gully Gawk

Arrives December 13th
Icelandic Name Pronounced [gill' ya gur]

Arrives December 13th
Icelandic Name Pronounced [gill' ya gur]
Licks and slurps at whatever's in the unwashed pots

Pottaskefill - Pot Scraper

Arrives December 16th
Icelandic Name Pronounced [Pot' a sky fill]

Arrives December 16th
Icelandic Name Pronounced [Pot' a sky fill]
Iceland's yummy version of yogurt is this guy's favorite!

Skyrgámur - Skyr Gobbler

Arrives December 19th
Icelandic Name Pronounced [skyr' ga mur]

Arrives December 19th
Icelandic Name Pronounced [skyr' ga mur]
His huge nose always sniffs out treats!

Gáttaþefur - Door Sniffer

Arrives December 22nd
Icelandic Name Pronounced [gotta' thever]

Arrives December 22nd
Icelandic Name Pronounced [gotta' thever]
Loves the crusty baked-on bits on baking pans

Stúfur - Stubby

Arrives December 14th
Icelandic Name Pronounced [Stew' fer]

Arrives December 14th
Icelandic Name Pronounced [Stew' fer]
Slurps up all the food set out for family pets

Askasleikir - Bowl Licker

Arrives December 17th
Icelandic Name Pronounced [Ask' a slay ker]

Arrives December 17th
Icelandic Name Pronounced [Ask' a slay ker]
Loves Sausage of all Kinds!

Bjúgnakrækir - Sausage Swiper

Arrives December 20th
Icelandic Name Pronounced [buke' naw cry gear]

Arrives December 20th
Icelandic Name Pronounced [buke' naw cry gear]
Hangs out near the table to steal meat off your plate!

Ketkrókur - Meat Hook

Arrives December 23rd
Icelandic Name Pronounced [ket' croaker]

Arrives December 23rd
Icelandic Name Pronounced [ket' croaker]
Sneaks in and steals all the pretty smell-good candles!

Kertasníkir - Candle Beggar

Arrives December 24th
Icelandic Name Pronounced [keta' sneaker]

Arrives December 24th
Icelandic Name Pronounced [keta' sneaker]