BY K-FAI STEELE
The jólasveinarnir, or Yule Lads, are Iceland’s version(s) of Santa. According to legend, thirteen of them visit children on the twelve nights leading up to Christmas. Depending on whether the child has been good or bad, they leave toys or rotting potatoes in their shoes. The jólasveinarnir were originally a form of trolls/vagrants, and as many fairy tales and folklore legends go, they are pretty nasty and are always trying to steal food from you. A good friend of mine hails from Ísafjörður, a town in the northwest of Iceland. When he told me about the jólasveinarnir, I knew I had to make a series of drawings celebrating them and their antics. I partnered up with Nanna Árnadóttir to make a sort of advent calendar of modernized takes on them for the Reykjavik Grapevine. Here is a selection of some of my favorites.