Shopping Basket

An Icelandic Christmas | Welcome the Yule Lads

Inspired by our adventures in Iceland, we discovered some mischievous, gruesome and charming Icelandic Christmas / Yule traditions, and picked out some of our favourites pieces to help you to celebrate them yourself, should you wish.

12 December welcomes the start of a curious Icelandic Christmas tradition; forget about just one Santa, Icelandic children are visited by thirteen. The jólasveinar, or Yule Lads, come down from their mountain, one every morning until Christmas, leaving presents in the shoes of the children. Depending on their behaviour the day before, the children might receive sweets, a small present, or rotting potatoes. Traditionally each lad would indulge in high jinks and perhaps petty crime, giving rise to his name; latterly, the lads have taken on a more kindly, benevolent role, akin to Father Christmas.

The first lad, Stekkjarstaur (Sheep-Cote Clod) arrives on the 12th December, staying until 25th, followed by one more lad each morning until Christmas finally arrives including Giljagaur (Gully Gawk), Stúfur (Stubby), Þvörusleikir (Spoon-Licker), Pottaskefill (Pot-Scraper), Askasleikir (Bowl-Licker), Hurðaskellir (Door-Slammer), Skyrgámur (Skyr-Gobbler), Bjúgnakrækir (Sausage-Swiper), Gluggagægir (Window-Peeper), Gáttaþefur (Doorway-Sniffer), Ketkrókur (Meat-Hook) and finally Kertasníkir (Candle-Stealer) on Christmas Eve.

Other Icelandic Traditions

The Christmas Cat: 

According to Old Icelandic folklore, every Icelander must receive a new piece of clothing for Christmas or they will find themselves in mortal danger. The cat himself is said to be a vicious beast, lurking in the snowy countryside waiting to devour any person not in possession of a new garment by Christmas Eve. Some think that farmers used this mythical beast as a means to get workers to finish processing the autumn wool, rewarding those who worked hard with new clothes, leaving the ones that didn't work hard enough to get eaten by the huge man-eating Christmas or Yuletide Cat.

Chy Jumper
Chy Jumper

Knitted from our softest alpaca / wool blend yarn, the Chy Jumper will brighten up the greyest of winter days. The warm chunky knit features

Isle of Bute Blanket
Isle of Bute Blanket

The Isle of Bute has a remote, timeless feel, with dramatic landscapes ranging from wild coasts to lush forests. It's here that we chose to

True North Bowmont Jumper
True North Bowmont Jumper

A True North project. Our Bowmont Jumper is a uniquely British tale of our love affair with wool - 100% British Merino wool, 100% British su

Giving books on Christmas Eve:

Given the relationship between Icelanders and their beloved Icelandic Sagas it is no surprise that it is said that there are more books per head in Iceland than any other country in the world. A charming Christmas tradition of book giving on Christmas Eve is said to contribute to the Jolabokaflod, or “Christmas Book Flood,” when the majority of the year's books are sold.

Víðsýni
Víðsýni

A personal photographic exploration of Iceland's Westfjords by Finisterre's Head of Creative David Gray, videographer Chris McClean, and pho

The Surfer's Journal 26.2
The Surfer's Journal 26.2

On the cover: From a deep surfing family to just…deep, Mikala Jones self-documents the inner recesses of an Indonesian cavern. Additional ex

Surf Shacks
Surf Shacks

Produced by Indoek, a collective of surfing creatives, Surf Shacks is a beautiful coffee table book exploring surfers' homes across the glob

Close

Sign up to our newsletter

Join our community and stay in the loop

GET THE LATEST GEAR & EXCLUSIVE OFFERS.