Unlike most other countries that only have one Santa Claus, Iceland has thirteen. They are called Jólasveinar (Yule Lads) and take turns visiting our children the 13 nights leading up to Christmas Eve.

Children place one of their shoes on the windowsill of their rooms on each of those nights. For those children who behave well during the day the Yule Lads will leave candy or a small treat but those who behave badly can expect a rotten potato.

Traditionally, the Yule Lads behaved as you would expect trolls to  behave. They received their names to describe their mischievous behavior. For example, Door-Slammer likes to slam doors loudly, Spoon-Licker enjoys stealing unwashed spoons with traces of food, licking them clean, etc.

The Yule Lads are generally depicted as wearing 'traditional' peasant garb, which includes wool or sheepskins. However, they are sometimes shown wearing costumes traditionally worn by Santa Claus, especially at children's events.


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