Iceland's Yule Cat will help you appreciate Christmas socks - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Iceland's Yule Cat will help you appreciate Christmas socks

Posted: Updated:
REYKJAVIK, Iceland -

When I was growing up, getting socks as a Christmas gift was just about the biggest travesty in the world. As I grew older. I realized cool socks are actually a great gift and have completely reversed my stance on socks for Christmas. If I'd grown up in Iceland though, my opinion of Christmas socks would have been very different as a young boy.

That's because Iceland is home to the Jólakötturinn, or Yule Cat, the giant cat who eats children who haven't received new clothes by the time Christmas rolls around. So new socks could end up being a lifesaving gift.

The story of the Yule Cat likely dates back to the 19th century, or perhaps even earlier. According to Icelandic tradition, anyone who finished their chores before Christmas would get new clothes as a reward, while lazy kids who didn't do their chores would face the Yule Cat's wrath.

The massive Yule Cat prowls around Iceland on Christmas night, checking windows to see who got new clothes and who didn't. If you're a naughty child, the Yule Cat would eat you.

“This is the kind of message Icelanders like to send out in their folklore,” Haukur S. Magnússon writes for the Reykyavík Grapevine. “If you do not have the money or means of acquiring new items of clothing before the festival of lights, you will be eaten by a gigantic cat.”

Smithsonian Magazine reports the threat of the Yule Cat is also meant to inspire generosity in children who don't need to worry about the Yule Cat eating them. Because giving less-fortunate kids new clothes would save them from the Yule Cat. According to folklore, the Yule Cat is owned by trolls, collectively known as the Yule Lads. They apparently eat kids too.

Here's the full Yule Cat poem as performed by Icelandic superstar Bjork, to give you a little more context.

Pretty scary, right?

So if your kids complain about socks this year, just tell them, "I was trying to save you from the Yule Cat." I'm sure they'll appreciate it.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Police: Washington State University QB Tyler Hilinski dead from apparent suicide

    Police: Washington State University QB Tyler Hilinski dead from apparent suicide

    Wednesday, January 17 2018 2:05 AM EST2018-01-17 07:05:06 GMT

    PULLMAN, Wash. - Pullman Police say at around 4:30 pm, officers responded to the Aspen Village Apartments to check on the welfare of Washington State University football player Tyler Hilinski after he did not show up for practice earlier in the day. Officers arrived and found 21-year-old Hilinski deceased in the apartment with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

    >>

    PULLMAN, Wash. - Pullman Police say at around 4:30 pm, officers responded to the Aspen Village Apartments to check on the welfare of Washington State University football player Tyler Hilinski after he did not show up for practice earlier in the day. Officers arrived and found 21-year-old Hilinski deceased in the apartment with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

    >>
  • What you should do if you have the flu

    What you should do if you have the flu

    Wednesday, January 17 2018 9:45 PM EST2018-01-18 02:45:20 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - The number of flu cases continue to rise. In Spokane County, more than 300 people have been hospitalized because of it and 14 of them have died. So how do you know you have the flu? KHQ met with Dr. Bob Lutz, Spokane County health officer. He says that the flu is a respiratory illness and if you have it, you’ll know it’s more than a cold. “You have the body aches. Everything hurts. I’ve had people tell me their eyes hurt, their hair hu...

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - The number of flu cases continue to rise. In Spokane County, more than 300 people have been hospitalized because of it and 14 of them have died. So how do you know you have the flu? KHQ met with Dr. Bob Lutz, Spokane County health officer. He says that the flu is a respiratory illness and if you have it, you’ll know it’s more than a cold. “You have the body aches. Everything hurts. I’ve had people tell me their eyes hurt, their hair hu...

    >>
  • WATCH: Oregon fisherman sues after insane boat crash caught on camera

    WATCH: Oregon fisherman sues after insane boat crash caught on camera

    Wednesday, January 17 2018 6:12 PM EST2018-01-17 23:12:55 GMT

    CLATSOP COUNTY, Ore. - A salmon fisherman who abandoned ship by leaping into the Columbia river last summer, right before another boat crashed into his, is suing the other boat driver for $372,000. The Oregonian reports that the Clatsop County sheriff's office accused Marlin Lee Larson of several crimes after the boater told investigators he couldn't see where he was driving because the dash of his boat was blocking his view when he was sitting down.

    >>

    CLATSOP COUNTY, Ore. - A salmon fisherman who abandoned ship by leaping into the Columbia river last summer, right before another boat crashed into his, is suing the other boat driver for $372,000. The Oregonian reports that the Clatsop County sheriff's office accused Marlin Lee Larson of several crimes after the boater told investigators he couldn't see where he was driving because the dash of his boat was blocking his view when he was sitting down.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Aziz Ansari story sparks heated debate over #MeToo Movement

    Aziz Ansari story sparks heated debate over #MeToo Movement

    Thursday, January 18 2018 12:40 AM EST2018-01-18 05:40:03 GMT

    The #MeToo movement has been embraced by legions of women as a vital step toward countering widespread sexual abuse and misconduct. This week, more so than at any point in the movement's brief history, there's visceral discussion about its potential for causing harm.    The catalyst was the publication by Babe.net of an account by a woman identified only as "Grace" detailing her 2017 encounter with comedian Aziz Ansari.

    >>

    The #MeToo movement has been embraced by legions of women as a vital step toward countering widespread sexual abuse and misconduct. This week, more so than at any point in the movement's brief history, there's visceral discussion about its potential for causing harm.    The catalyst was the publication by Babe.net of an account by a woman identified only as "Grace" detailing her 2017 encounter with comedian Aziz Ansari.

    >>
  • Suit: Gay couple gets 'hateful' flyers, not wedding programs

    Suit: Gay couple gets 'hateful' flyers, not wedding programs

    Thursday, January 18 2018 12:28 AM EST2018-01-18 05:28:57 GMT

    BOSTON (AP) - A printing company accused of sending discriminatory pamphlets to a gay couple who ordered wedding programs says it has learned the pamphlets were intended to be printed for another customer.

    >>

    BOSTON (AP) - A printing company accused of sending discriminatory pamphlets to a gay couple who ordered wedding programs says it has learned the pamphlets were intended to be printed for another customer.

    >>
  • Police: Yakima man sets house on fire; blames it on brother's decade-old fart prank

    Police: Yakima man sets house on fire; blames it on brother's decade-old fart prank

    Wednesday, January 17 2018 11:57 PM EST2018-01-18 04:57:16 GMT
    Police: Yakima man sets house on fire; blames it on brother's decade-old fart prankPolice: Yakima man sets house on fire; blames it on brother's decade-old fart prank

    YAKIMA, Wash. - Yakima Police say a man burnt down his parents' home Tuesday because of a prank his brother pulled on him over a decade ago.  According to KIMA, 29-year-old Joel Cruz was home alone, and got angry because of a time his brother farted in his face nearly 10 years ago.  That's when police say Cruz put a pot of vegetable oil on the stove, turned it on high, and ran out of the home.  KIMA says that Cruz told officers he heard 

    >>

    YAKIMA, Wash. - Yakima Police say a man burnt down his parents' home Tuesday because of a prank his brother pulled on him over a decade ago.  According to KIMA, 29-year-old Joel Cruz was home alone, and got angry because of a time his brother farted in his face nearly 10 years ago.  That's when police say Cruz put a pot of vegetable oil on the stove, turned it on high, and ran out of the home.  KIMA says that Cruz told officers he heard 

    >>