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The Goats of Christmas Past

The Gävle Goat (Gävlebocken) is a traditional Christmas display erected annually at Slottstorget in central Gävle, Sweden. It is a giant version of a traditional Swedish Yule Goat figure made of straw, and is erected each year at the beginning of Advent by local community groups. Ikea Iceland echoes its homeland’s tradition by erecting a similar edifice outside its store in Garðabær in the Capital region of the country.

Sadly, the ill-fated Christmas Goat has been in the wars once again, this time narrowly avoiding immolation in a fluffed arson attempt.

Icelandic news source ‘Nútíminn’ reports that CCTV recorded two individuals approaching the fenced enclosure that protects the Christmas Goat from vandalism, but, as can be seen in the video, things did not go according to plan for the would be arsonists. We don’t expect the guy on the right to get the call to shotput for the Icelandic Olympic team any time soon. Click here to view video

Residents of Garðabær are becoming accustomed to the continuing misadventures of the beleaguered beast, which is made of straw fastened around a thin metal frame. Just like its Swedish counterpart, the Christmas goat in Iceland has been subjected to all kinds of hardship over the years.

In both 2010 and 2012, vandals set fire to the Icelandic goat, and in 2011 and 2013, unusually high winds tore apart its thin metal frame as the poor creature was unable to stand up against the region’s trademark icy gusts.

Last year, it seems the goat had had enough of the endless indignity and attempted to go out in a blaze of glory. Faulty wiring in the Christmas lights reportedly sparked an ignition of the straw, and up it went.

This year, the goat keepers at Ikea in Garðabær are upping their game. “We have 24-hour surveillance and video cameras directed at the goat. We also have people on stand-by with fire extinguishers in case something happens,” said Þórarinn Ævarsson, head of IKEA in Iceland, who seems determined for the worst not to happen this year. “But of course we hope that it will get the chance to stay standing.”

For the goat’s sake, we hope they aren’t kidding.

Header image: Fredrik Sandberg
Thumbnail image: Mark Palmer
Goat image in text: IKEA