In Iceland, children count down the days til Christmas with the arrival of 13 troublesome trolls.
The Jólasveinar descend from the mountains to wreak havoc in towns and villages, starting with Stekkjastaur on December 12 who is apparently as stiff as wood and preys on farmers’ sheep.
Twelve others follow, such as Bjúgnakrækir the sausage swiper and Gluggagægir the window peeper.
Don’t worry kids, they don’t bother people living in Scotland – which is probably just as well, because the troll problems here seem to be a lot more serious.
This week for example, trolls nearly put the kibosh on a Perthshire town’s winter display.
Volunteers in Rattray said there would be no Christmas tree this year, partly because of logistical problems transporting the giant fir, but also because they were fed-up with “disheartening” comments on social media.
Critics complained about the state of last year’s tree, and even said it looked like it had been decorated by drunks from the local pub.
Thankfully, a surge in support online has prompted a change of heart and steps are being taken to arrange for a new tree beside the parish church (in the meantime, a smaller one has been put in place by kind locals).
This has been a sad example of how online trolls – or rather normal folk thundering out their opinions on Facebook – can have real life consequences.
Who can blame the volunteers for threatening to pull the plug on the display, if all they get for their hard work, including months of fundraising and paperwork, is disparaging comments.
The truth is last year’s tree was perfectly fine, and certainly better than none at all.
The volunteers who make sure our towns and villages don’t go without Christmas sparkle deserve our praise, not snarky criticism.
Remember, these groups give up their own time to brightening up communities during the darkest weeks of the year. We need to stick up for them and support them when we can.
As a once-great man once said: “It’s so easy to laugh, it’s so easy to hate, it takes guts to be gentle and kind.”