Spare a thought for our island cousins, the children of Iceland, who last night suffered a traumatising visit from Kertasníkir, or “Candle Beggar”, the thirteenth and final of the strange and somewhat sinister Icelandic Santas, or Yule lads, who are the children of the ogress Gryla. Most of them don’t seem to care if you’ve been bad or good – mainly they want to steal your food and wreck stuff.

The other Yule Lads:
Stekkjastaur – “Sheep-Cote Clod” – has peg legs, steals ewes milk.
Giljagaur – “Gully Gawk” – hides in gullies, steals cows milk.
Stúfur – “Stubby” – Steals scraps of food, also known as Pönnuskefill (“Panscraper”).
Þvörusleikir – “Spoonlicker” – Licks spoons.
Pottasleikir – “Pot Licker”, scrapes and licks pots.
Askasleikir – “Bowllicker” – hides under beds to steal food from bowls left on the floor.
– Hurðaskellir – “Door Slammer” – compulsively slams doors all night.
Skyrgámur – “Skyr Gobbler” – devourers vats of skyr.
Bjúgnakrækir – “Sausage Swiper” – devourers sausages.
Gluggagægir – “Window peeper” – He likes to watch.
Gáttaþefur – “Door sniffer” – Smells out your cookies and cakes and takes them.
Ketkrókur – “Meat hook” – Steals meat through the chimney with a hooked pole.