The Yule Lads...the Icelandic Santas...there are 13 !

The Yule Lads, or Yulemen, are figures from Icelandic folklore who in modern times have become the Icelandic version of Santa Claus. Their number has varied throughout the ages, but currently there are considered to be thirteen. The Yule Lads were originally portrayed as being mischievous, or even criminal, pranksters who would steal from or harass the population, at the time mostly rural farmers. They all had descriptive names that conveyed their particular quirks and predilections. The Yule Lads are traditionally said to be the sons of the mountain-dwelling trolls Gryla and Leppalúði. Additionally, the Yule Lads are often depicted with the Yuletide Cat, a beast that, according to folklore, eats children who don't receive new clothes in time for Christmas ! So, there ! In modern times the Yule Lads have been depicted as taking on a more benevolent role, comparable to the conventional Santa Claus, by putting small gifts (or potatoes if the child has misbehaved) into shoes placed by children into their windows the last thirteen nights before Christmas Eve. They are occasionally depicted as wearing the costume traditionally worn by Santa Claus, but are otherwise generally shown wearing late medieval style Icelandic clothing.