In Iceland, there’s a very old legend shared at Christmas-time about a nasty ogre-troll named Grýla. She was horrible and ugly and feared across the land. Parents would warn their children about Grýla, who looked for lazy and naughty children. She snuck down into the villages to steal them away, hiding them in mountain caves until she turned them into bad kids stew.

She had help from her huge cat, named Jólakötturinn (Yo’ la ko turin), the Yule Cat, and thirteen of her troll children. The trolls became known as Jólasveinarnir (Yo’ las vin are nur), – the Yule Lads – because they would come down from the mountain in the winter when the nights were much longer than the summer. Children in Iceland made sure to be extra good and helpful around Christmas time, or else Grýla and the Yule Lads would get them for misbehaving. The trolls started arriving in the middle of December until by Christmas Eve, all thirteen were together.

Stekkjastaur (Stek’ ya stir)                                   Sheep-Cote Clod                             Dec 12

Giljagaur (Gill’ ya grr)                                          Gully Gawk                                      Dec 13

Stúfur (Stew’ fur)                                                  Stufur                                               Dec 14

Þvörusleikir (Thur’ a slaker)                               Spoon Licker                                 Dec 15

Pottaskefill (Pot’ a sky fill)                                   Pot Scraper                                    Dec 16

Askasleikir (Ask’ a slaker)                                    Bowl Licker                                   Dec 17

Hurðaskellir (Her’ tha sket ler)                          Door Slammer                               Dec 18

Skyrgámur (Skeer’ ga mur)                                  Skyr Gobbler                                Dec 19

Bjúgnakrækir (Buke’ na cry gear)                      Sausage Swiper                              Dec 20

Gluggagægir (Glugga’ guy year)                          Window Peeper                             Dec 21

Gáttaþefur (Gotta’ thev er)                                  Door Sniffer                                  Dec 22

Ketkrókur (Keta’ croaker)                                    Meat Hook                                   Dec 23

Kertasnikir (Care’ ta sneaker)                             Candle Beggar                              Dec 24