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Iceland Mag

Culture

December 21: Window Peeper, 10th Yule Lad comes to town, invading everyone's privacy

By Staff

  • Gluggagægir The modern day Window Peeper is a couch potato. Back in the day he went around, invading people's privacy, breaking and entering. Photo/Halldór Baldursson

Beginning on December 12 the strange Christmas trolls, the Yule Lads, begin making their way down from the mountains, visiting people in towns and villages and stopping by farms. One by one the 13 brothers made their way from the mountains, one coming to town each day until December 24. They would then return back to the mountains in the same order they came, the first one leaving on Christmas Day, December 25.

Read more: Instead of a friendly Santa Iceland has 13 mischievous Yule lads and an evil Christmas Cat

In previous times the primary occupation of the Yule Lads was petty crime, invasion of privacy and wreaking havoc: While some Yule Lads stole food, others just caused a nuisance. Sausage Swiper (Bjúgnakrækir) and Door Slammer (Hurðaskellir) are perfect examples.

Today the Yule Lads have taken up more civilized ways. Instead of stealing things the Yule Lads leave little treats in children's shoes. Beginning on December 12 Icelandic children wake up every morning excited to see what the Yule Lad left for them during the night. The cartoonist Halldór Baldursson imagines the modern incarnation of the tenth Yule Lad, Window Peeper, as a couch potato, sitting in front of the TV. The Yule Lad poem, by Jóhannes úr Kötlum describes him very differently:

The tenth was Window Peeper,
a weird little twit,
who stepped up to the window
and stole a peek through it.
And whatever was inside
to which his eye was drawn,
he most likely attempted
to take later on.

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