Yule Straw

In NORWAY, Sweden, ESTONIA, and Finland decorations made out of straw appear in homes and shops during the CHRISTMAS SEASON. These ORNAMENTS may represent the remnants of the old custom of sleeping on a straw bed at Christmas time.

Yule Log

In past eras many European people burned Yule logs in their homes at Christmas time. Often these enormous logs burned throughout the TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS. The many customs and beliefs associated with these logs suggest that at one time they were thought to have magical powers.

Yule Goat

In NORWAY and Sweden the goat, rather than the REINDEER, symbolizes Christmas and brings Christmas GIFTS. In Sweden straw goats constitute a staple Christmas decoration (see also YULE STRAW), while in Norway the animal lends its name to a Christmas Day caroling custom.


Many researchers believe that in the early Middle Ages, people in northern EUROPE celebrated a midwinter festival called Yule, Juul, or Jol. Although the history of the word remains uncertain, some authorities believe it comes from an Anglo-Saxon word, geol, meaning “feast.”