Elves on Christmas Night
Christmas night on December 24th is the main night of the Icelandic Christmas celebration. That is the time people get together and share a Christmas meal, then they open presents.
Gifts are exchanged on the evening of December 24th and the family generally gathers around a decoratedChristmas tree to do so.
Children do not receive a special gift from Father Christmas on these nights having already been given 13 smaller ones on the nights leading up to December 24th by one of the 13 yule lads or Santa Clauses of Iceland. Children leave their sock or boot in the window of their bedroom and the Icelandic Santas gives the child a small toy or candy as he passes by.
There are many Icelandic folktales about elves and hidden people invading Icelandic farmhouses duringChristmas and holding wild parties. It was extremely important to keep calm if this happened and you were the only human left in the farm. You could survive if you kept to yourself and didn’t participate. A good bet was to read the Psalter or the Bible if it was at hand. Then as the elves left the house they would also leave you gifts for your troubles.