The Yule Lads, or Yulemen, (Icelandic: jólasveinarnir or jólasveinar) are characters from Icelandic folklore who in modern times have become the Icelandic version of Santa Claus. There are thirteen of these characters. They put rewards or punishments into shoes placed by children in window sills during the last thirteen nights before Christmas Eve. Every night, one Yuletide lad visits each child, leaving gifts or rotting potatoes, depending on the child’s behavior throughout the year.
The Yule Lads are traditionally said to be the sons of the mountain-dwelling trolls Grýla and Leppalúði. They would trek from the mountains to scare Icelandic children who misbehaved before Christmas. Additionally, the Yule Lads are often depicted with the Yule Cat, a beast that, according to folklore, eats children who don’t receive new clothes for Christmas.
Icelandic Name: Grýla
Description: Mother of the Yule Lads