Beware the Yule Lads

It is tradition in Iceland for kids to leave an old shoe in their windows in the 13 days leading up to Christmas. Why? In the hopes that the troll Grýla’s sons will, one by one, leave them a gift. When the 13 Yule Lads come down from the highlands, they play little tricks on Icelanders of all ages, leave gifts in the shoes of the nice and rotten potatoes in those of the naughty–children, that is.

But there are only two Yule Lades that one should be wary of when it comes to Icelandic lamb: Bjúgnakrækir (Sausage Swiper) and Ketkrókur (Meat-Hook). They just can’t get enough Icelandic lamb and who can blame them?

All About Lamb

Bjúgnakrækir and Ketkrókur both love lamb but Bjúgnakrækir holds a special place in his heart for bjúgu, traditional Icelandic sausage. While Ketkrókur is all about the traditional Icelandic Christmas dish: hangikjöt, smoked lamb.

For adults, waking up to missing sausage and smoked lamb can be a tough pill to swallow, especially since they don’t even get special treats left in their shoes.

Thinking Ahead

But Bjúgnakrækir and Ketkrókur and all the other Yule Lads have been pulling their tricks for a while now so people know what to expect. Knowing what these mischievous masters of mayhem get up to, some folks have begun taking preventative measures, such as leaving out a little extra bjúgu and hangikjöt in the hopes that, in exchange, the Lads will leave gifts and perhaps also leave the family’s share of Icelandic lamb untouched.

If all goes to plan, another holiday season will pass with everyone getting their fill of savory Icelandic lamb without a single rotten potato in sight.

Get into the holiday spirit Icelandic style. Enjoy Icelandic Lamb in all its iterations and make sure to set some aside for Bjúgnakrækir and Ketkrókur.

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