The Yule Cat and the Christmas Book Flood
Iceland has some wonderful (and frankly terrifying) traditions. What are they, you ask?
The first tradition is wonderful, especially for people who enjoy books as much as you and me. The Christmas Book Flood or Jólabókaflód. On Christmas Eve everyone everyone exchanges books on Christmas Eve and spends the rest of the night READING! Isn't that amazing?! Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country, with most of that publishing occurring during the Christmas season, thus the name Christmas Book Flood.
So what's terrifying, you ask? How about the Yule Cat?
Jólakötturinn is a huge, menacing cat that roams the the snowy countryside and eats people who aren't wearing new clothes. That sounds somewhat superficial doesn't it?
That's because the Yule Cat was created as a threat the farmers would hold over their workers to finish the processing of wool before Christmas. Those who did, would receive new clothes. Those who didn't finish their work, would face the large predatory cat. The Jólakötturinn is the pet of the giantess Grÿla and her sons, the Yule Lads.
So remember, you have by tonight to exchange books and new threads, perhaps new wool socks... or not. You do you. Celebrate Jólabókflód and keep the Jólakötturinn in the snowy hills.