You can see kitschy Coca-Cola-colored Santas all over the world, in Reykjavík, New York, London ... it's boring.
But there are other interesting figures: Tomorrow comes Stekkjastaur (Sheep-Cote Clod), the first of the thirteen Jólasveinar, the Icelandic Yuletide Lads. They are no Saints but the sons of the troll woman Grýla and they tease the humans by stealing food and making mischief till Chistmas. You can see Stekkjastaur on the left side of the picture. If you like to enjoy the adventures of the Jólasveinar I recommend to visit the webpage of Mo'a Romig-Boyles within the next days.
On the right side there is an oldfashioned Nikolaus from the German children's book Struwwelpeter (1845). The educational poem The Story of the Inky Boys was translated by Mark Twain. We can learn that Saint Nicholas (the real Santa Claus) is also active in summer.
The Story of the Inky Boys As he had often done before, The woolly-headed black-a-moor One nice fine summer's day went out To see the shops and walk about; And as he found it hot, poor fellow, He took with him his green umbrella Then Jóhnny, little noisy wag, Ran out and laugh'd, and waved his flag, And Skúli came in jacket trim, And brought his woollen hoop with him; And Kaspar, too, snatch'd up his toys And joined the other naughty boys; So one and all set up a roar, And laughed and hooted more and more, And kept on singing,--only think!-- "Oh! Blacky, you're as black as ink"
Now Saint Nicholas lieved close by,-- So tall he almost touched the sky; He had a mighty inkstand too, In which a great goose feather grew; He call'd out in an angry tone, "Boys, leave the black-a-moor alone! For if he tries with all his might, He cannot change from black to white." But ah! they did not mind a bit What Saint Nicholas said of it; But went on laughing, as before, And hooting at the black-a-moor.
Then Saint Nicholas foams with rage: Look at him on this very page! He seizes Kaspar, seizes Jón, Takes Skúli by his little head; And they may scream, and kick, and call, But into the ink he dips them all; Into the inkstand, one, two, three, Till they are black, as black can be; Turn over now and you shall see.
See, there they are, and there they run! The black-a-moor enjoys the fun. They have been made as black as crows, Quite black all over, eyes and nose, And legs, and arms, and heads, and toes. And trowsers, pinafores, and toys,-- The silly little inky boys! Because they set up such a roar, And teas'd the harmless black-a-moor.