Meet the 'Yule Lads,' Troll Brothers Who Terrorize Icelandic Children for Christmas 


Hey, your husbands went to Iceland!

Kidding, of course. (They’re at the Bellagio.) But it is true that Icelandic children are preparing for their annual visit from the “Yule Lads,” that is, “13 mischievous troll brothers” with names like “Door-Slammer, Window-Peeper, Meat-Hook, Candle-Stealer—reflecting their preferred method of pranks or criminal behavior. But they claim to be mostly rehabilitated,” according to the AP. They arrive 13 days before Christmas, wandering down from the mountains, having grudgingly submitted to their annual bath.

They are in fact the gentlest members of their family, which also includes “their evil mother, Gryla, said to be a 600-year-old woman who eats children,” and “an innocently named ‘Christmas Cat,’ a giant feline with the habit of eating children.”

“You find a number of parents saying that we have to tone Gryla and her family down a bit,” University of Iceland folklore professor Terry Gunnell told the AP. “But that would take away some the genuine Icelandic Christmas which is a dark time when days pass with only few hours of sunlight.”

Throw American Christmas into the trash, because it’s tinsel-dusted garbage. Toss that surveillance state mascot Elf on the Shelf into the fire and delete every Hallmark Christmas movie. We’re pivoting to goth-ass Icelandic Christmas. Gryla, come on over, and bring your large yule sons with you.

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