Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, you know that the worst thing rosy-cheeked St. Nick may subject you to is a lump of coal instead of shiny presents. Granted it’s a disappointing sight on Christmas morning, but it’s still better than what impish Icelandic kids have to reckon with, namely rotten potatoes delivered by 13 wicked santas, the possibility to be eaten by a giant bloodthirsty cat, or even be slowly cooked in the cauldron of a cave-dwelling ogress. From creepy tales full of terrifying characters based in pagan folklore to merry and wholesome traditions, here is what makes Christmas in Iceland undoubtedly unique.
The scariest Christmas family in the world
The main characters that make up Iceland’s Christmas story are all part of the same unusual household: Grýla the matriarch; her cat Jólakötturinn; and the Yule Lads, her 13 children.
Grýla is the Christmas ogress that would make any children keep on the straight and narrow. The legend goes that every year at Christmas time, she comes down from the mountain cave that she inhabits with Leppalúði, her lazy second husband (she supposedly ate the first one), and her 13 devilish boys to