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Christmas Is About Eating (Children)

December 21st, 2013 · No Comments · Uncategorized

I had planned to write a lengthy post about the bloodstained heathen origins of Christmas as a proper sendoff for this year’s last post. But then I decided to just write a short post about my favourite Icelandic Christmas monster, inspired by this image by Icelandic artist Thrandur:

This is Grýla. She is one of the female trolls who live in the Icelandic highlands. For Christmas she makes a trip down to the towns and cities, searching for naughty children. She returns to her cave with a bag stuffed full of crying kids, whom she boils alive and then devours whole. She has 13 sons, the Yule Lads (Iceland’s 13 Santas – yes, they have 13, not just the one), who also do their bit to harass Icelandic families in the 13 days up to Christmas – they are a little better behaved than their mother, and leave gifts in shoes. Grýla is in a perpetual bad mood, mainly because she is always hungry. And it’s not only children who attract her- her first two husbands bored her so much she ate them too. The ogress is accompanied by the massive Yule Cat, which also has a taste for children—those who don’t get any new pieces of clothing before Christmas fall prey to it.

There you have it. Christmas is mostly about eating children, I guess. But to make up for those of you who prefer a single Santa without troll mother, here’s a short video based on Neil Gaimain’s poem ‘Nicholas was’. Happy holidays. I’m off to eat something now.

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