The Icelandic Christmas Cat or Yule Cat is a not a very nice cat. He eats kids and farm workers given a chance. His Icelandic name is Jólakötturinn or Jólaköttur. I have no idea how to pronounce that. Jólakötturinn eats kids who don’t have at least one new item of clothing to wear before Christmas Eve. That is what Icelandic parents, in some homes, tell their children. They say that Jólakötturinn can tell who the lazy children are because they don’t have at least one new item of clothing. If that were to be the case the child would be sacrificed to the Yule Cat.
The Yule Cat is a huge and nasty cat from Icelandic folklore. The threat of being eaten by this massive monster of a cat was not only used to motivate kids. Apparently farmers threatened their employees with being preyed upon by the Yule Cat in order to encourage them to complete the processing of the autumn wool before Christmas. The workers who worked got new clothes otherwise there would be no new clothes plus they would be preyed upon by this mythical cat.
What do you think about that? It is certainly completely new to me. It all sounds a bit nasty except for the fact that I expect it was all in good fun. I would have thought that what really happened was that the kids got better presents and the workers received a gift of some sort (a bonus) if they behaved well. I am guessing but that would seem to be the idea.
My thanks to Robyn Jensen aka Riverside Robyn for finding this information for me.