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Stories of Santa can be pretty weird. The lyrics of Santa Claus is coming to town is one example – the man knows when you are sleeping, if you have been bad or good and you better watch out because he’s coming! Talk about being a stalker!

Then there is the Central European demon of Krampus. He is the opposite of St. Nicholas and punishes children that have misbehaved.

And then, we have Iceland. The home of a rather insane family of trolls and giants, who eat children and trick them – and their livestock!

Iceland hill in winter

Grýla and Leppalúði

They are the parents of the Yule Lads. Grýla is a repulsive giantess who loves to eat children who misbehave. Leppalúði is an exceptionally lazy bum who does little else than wait for Grýla to cook for him a meal. Grýla has a super-power which allows her to detect misbehaving children. Still, during Christmas, she ventures into town to collect them and drags them back home in her sack.

Leppalúði is Grýla‘s third husband (if you can call him that). And apart from the 13 Yule Lads they have together, she had scores of other troll children with her other two men.

Iceland waterfall Goðafoss

Jólakötturinn or the Yule Cat

The family pet is the giant cat Yule cat. It’s a vicious being who eats people that didn’t get any clothing of any sort for Christmas. A sock is enough (just like the house-elves in Harry Potter!).

The Yule Lads

The 13 Yule Lads come one by one from the 12th of December to the 24th. Initially, they were tricksters, and their name gives away what kind of prank they played on people. The first one is called Sheep-Cote Clod and harassed sheep, Spoon-licker snuck in to steal people’s wooden spoons while they were cooking to lick off the food and so on.

Today they have turned their back to their tricking and pranking ways and give children small presents which they put in their shoe which has been put out in the window. We’re not sure if the Yule Lads give children treats in a shoe put out in a camper van, but we encourage you to try!

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