Every Christmas, are you on Santa’s nice list or naughty list? Well, if you’re on the naughty list and you stay in Iceland, you’ll get rotting potatoes as your Christmas present! No, wait, Santa isn’t going to give you those bad potatoes – the 13 Yule Lads will!
The characters of Yule Lads in stories have changed over centuries from mean creatures who scare children to mischievous creatures who come to town to leave children presents if their shoe is kept outside.
Yule Lads are merry but mischievous fellows who take turns to visit children on the 13 nights that lead up to Christmas. Ready to receive presents from them, children place one of their shoes on the windowsill and go to sleep, waiting eagerly for the next morning to see what the Yule Lads left them. If the boys and girls have been good all through the year, they’ll find yummy candies in the shoe. If they’ve been naughty, they’ll receive rotting potatoes!
Just like the seven dwarfs of Snow White, each Yule Lad has a unique personality and a name that describes his personality. For example, Gully Gawk steals foam from buckets of cow milk, Skyr Gobbler eats up all the Icelandic yogurt, Window Peeper peeps into windows, and Candle Beggar steals candles!
So, kids in Iceland are most likely to be visited by 13 Yule Lads on Christmas than Santa Claus!