Iceland awaits the Yule Lads © Arctic-Images/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images
If you’re spending the holidays here in Reykjavik, be sure to keep an eye out for Sausage-Swiper, Window-Peeper, and Door-Slammer. They’re three of the Yule Lads, a group of 13 mischievous pranksters who—according to local folklore—visit homes one by one to leave rewards or punishments for children on each of the 13 days leading up to Christmas. Tonight, the Gully Gawk is scheduled for a visitation, waiting for an opportunity to sneak into the cowshed and steal milk. Modern versions of the lads sometimes portray them in a benevolent light, even dressed like Santa Claus, but other stories are dark. The lads are said to be the sons of Gryla, a mountain troll with an appetite for mischievous children. Let’s hope we’re on the nice list this year.