13 Yule Lads Coming to Iceland

Pot Licker yule lad in Iceland
Licking the pots inside one of the homes in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Iceland doesn’t have the Coca  Cola Santa – Iceland has a Christmas Family with 13 yule lads who start coming to town 13 nights before Christmas, one yule lad arrives every night until Christmas Eve when they start going back one by one. All the 13 yule lads have different names describing their role in the Christmas traditions:

1. Stiffy legs suckles yews in farmer’s sheep sheds.
2. Gully Gawk steals foam from buckets of milk from the cows in the farmhouses.
3. Stubby is short and steals food from the frying pans in the kitchens.
4. Spoon Licker licks spoons to make sure nothing is being spilled.
5. Pot Licker licks them clean the unwashed pots.
6. Bowl Licker licks bowls that have been used for food.
7. Door Slammer wakens up the families when slamming doors.
8. Skyr Gobbler eats up all the Skyr in the house.
9. Sausage Swiper escapes with long strings of unattended sausages to eat when he gets away.
10. Window Peeper is creeping around outside and peeking in through the windows.
11. Door Sniffer has a big nose and sniffs out when the family has been baking cakes and cookies.
12. Meat Snatcher has a hook to get the smoked meat hanging under the ceiling. He disappears from the house with the meat.
13. Candle Beggar begs for candles.

Even though these 13 yule lads are in some ways mischieveous, they are nice.  The kids put a shoe into the window and open the window because that’s how the yule lads get into the house. If the kids behave and go early to sleep before Christmas then the yule lad might leave a present in the shoe. If they don’t behave and if they lie in bed trying to stay awake to see the yule lad then there might be a potato in shoe in the morning.