A Christmas Gift from Icelandic Yule Lads

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I had a wonderful surprise when I returned from a Christmas visit to my family in Shreveport, LA.  My life had come full circle in a way.  Back in June, I visited Iceland for the first time.  In Reykjavik, I found a curious red mailbox.

Send a letter to Icelandic Santa Claus in Reykjavik and recieve a gift from one of the Yule Lads

As stated on the top, “this is not a regular mailbox”!  This mailbox is a direct line to Icelandic Santa!  The mailbox is located outside of a Christmas shop, which sells a form letter to fill out for Santa for around $11.  As you can read, you simply “write a letter with the name of your best friend or child” and get gifts from a Yule Lad.  Of course, I’m selfish, so I wrote my own name and kept the gifts for myself.

Send a letter to Icelandic Santa Claus in Reykjavik and recieve a gift from one of the Yule Lads

As you can tell from my scarf and heavy coat, this was a warm summer day in June in Iceland,

Iceland, this is NOT patio weather!

so naturally between then and now I had completely forgotten about my gift from the Yule Lads.  That’s why I was so excited when I returned home months later to this;

Send a letter to Icelandic Santa Claus in Reykjavik and recieve a gift from one of the Yule Lads

*Spoiler Alert*

The gift is an ornament of one of the 13 Yule Lads.  I got the “Skyrgamur” or “Skyr Gobbler”, an elfish figure that comes down from the nearby mountains every December 19th to secretly steal and eat the townspeople’s yogurt.

Skyrgamur or Skyr Gobbler, an Icelandic Yule Lad that comes down from the mountains every December 19th to steal peoples yogurt.

Skyrgamur or Skyr Gobbler, an Icelandic Yule Lad that comes down from the mountains every December 19th to steal peoples yogurt.

  I initially thought this must be the most bizarre Yule Lad, and therefore the best.  This just proves how little I knew about Yule Lads.  Luckily my gift came with this educational literature.

A guide to Icelandic Yule Lads

My Skyr Gobbler wasn’t the most bizarre Yule Lad by a long shot!  According to Icelandic folklore, there are 13 Yule Lads that live in the mountains.  Each comes down on a different day in December to do weird things like steal your yogurt or lick your spoons.  Many of their activities seem to revolve around stealing, licking, or sniffing foodstuffs, except for December 21st’s peeping Tom (or peeping Thor, if you will).  I know it’s a lot, but the pictured guide is worth a read.  I will be incorporating some of the traditions in my holiday celebrations next year!

Not to date myself, but it’s been a long time since I’ve written a letter to Santa.  Now I can say unequivocally, that it’s just as magical as an (sort of) adult.

Send a letter to Icelandic Santa Claus in Reykjavik and recieve a gift from one of the Yule Lads

You can learn more about Icelandic folklore and the Yule Lads here!

18 thoughts on “A Christmas Gift from Icelandic Yule Lads

  1. I have always wondered what they send out as gifts what a fun way to remember Iceland 🙂

    • Mags

      I may have to go back and try to collect all $13.

  2. This is just an adorable idea! What a wonderful surprise to get the treats from Iceland right before Christmas. Great story!

    • Mags

      It really was a great surprise. I was a little concerned the Yule Lads would take my money and run!

  3. I’m dying! This is hysterical and I want to do it for my girls! How fun!! Would love for you to link this up with us at 100 Happy Days! http://www.akreativewhim.com/100-happy-new-year-days-11/

    • Mags

      Thanks so much Kate! I just joined your link up and followed you guys on social media. I appreciate the invite. Happy New Year!

  4. what a lovely belated souvenir! I think I’d be tempted to go back each year and see i I could collect them all too

  5. The letter idea is fantastic! my daughter would love it, but like you, so would I! I love buying tree decorations from my absolute favorite countries and adding them to my tree. They have to be special experiences to make the cut though. I think Iceland would be at the top. I still haven’t been but it’s high on my list.

  6. Ha ha, I bet most people put their own names on the letter. 🙂 I love the present though. It is so simple, but will probably be a really special memory for you.

    • Mags

      Luckily I have terrible handwriting so who ever is in charge of this probably thought it was going to an 8 year old. lol

  7. What a fun and interesting find! Love it! The bowl licker is just too funny! Kids would so love it.

  8. Fun! I’ll be sure to hide the yogurt if you ever stop by and see me in Vero Beach. It is always nice getting something in the snail mail. Glad they followed through with sending it. Cute ornament. 😉

  9. That is such a fun treat. It’s great to get surprises back from your travels. I’ve started sending myself postcards everywhere I go (and one to someone else as well). It’s so much fun getting them in the mail when I get home.

    • Mags

      That’s a great idea. I’ve been collecting postcards and framing them on my “travel wall” when I get home, but I think mailing them back would be even better.

  10. Oh my gosh, this is so much fun! When I get the chance to head to Iceland, I will definitely want to be trying this out! So cute!!

  11. Perfect timing! Taking surprises and memories. Thats the best part 🙂

  12. I love this idea and couldn’t believe it myself when we visited Iceland and saw that they have a permanent Christmas shop. I love some of the traditions that they have in Iceland, a bit like the act of giving a book to one another on Christmas Eve.

  13. Bahaha steal your yogurt or lick your spoons … how random!! What a fun way to celebrate Christmas though – a really fabulous way to enjoy a few traditions from other countries and cultures during the festive season!

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