Well, that’s…flattering?

This just showed up on twitter:

jul goat

And I was equally baffled (and slightly defensive) so I looked it up and got articles entitled

Every Year, a Swedish Town Builds a Giant Straw Goat, And People Just Can’t Help Burning It Down

and

Burning the Gavele Goat: SWEDEN’S HOLIDAY TRADITION OF ANIMAL ARSON.

Apparently in Sweden every year they build an enormous goat but since it’s made of hay it’s like a siren for arsonists, and at this point the arson has become part of the tradition.  Giant animals and annual arson.   And then I read the tweet again and I thought, “Holy shit, twitter does get me.  Merry Christmas to me.

And Merry Christmas to you.  May it be lit with happiness and the glow of giant burning goats.

PS.  My favorite Christmas carol, for you.

If you’re easily offended and super-religious you might want to skip it and go pray for us instead.

PPS.  I’ve gotten the most amazing letters from people who’ve been helped, or who’ve been lucky enough to be able to help, or who’ve regained their hope in humanity by just reading the stories shared in the comments over the last four years of James Garfield Christmas Miracles.  Thank you.

84 replies. read them below or add one

  1. Thor must get so pissed.

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  2. I can see how they can’t help setting it on fire. I can’t seem to get through a candlelight service at church without lighting at least two old ladies on fire. Stupid hairspray…

    Like

  3. Thanks for the song… just what I needed to hear today

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  4. What a sweet song. Thanks for sharing it.

    Have a Merry Christmas and a lovely New Year!❤

    Like

    Kelly @ Cibatarian recently posted Seasons Greetings!.

  5. @ocularnervosa: Probably not, Thor eats his goats everyday and they keep returning to life for him to eat again.

    Like

  6. I think thats my new favorite Christmas song.

    Like

  7. I first read “Giant animals and anal arson,” which made no sense. Then I read it again and I’m still confused. Oh well. Merry, happy, fa-la-la.

    PS You and James Garfield do great work

    Like

    Manicmom recently posted I wasn’t all that good with the cursive anyway.

  8. Thank you for introducing me to Tim Minchin. His music was on repeat last month and helped me get through a particularly rough patch.

    Like

  9. MERRY CHRISTMAS GOAT GIRL!!!!

    Like

    Michelle recently posted Merry Holiday That You Celebrate.

  10. I have lived in Gävle, and let me tell you that we get very disappointed when the goat doesn’t burn! It’s tradition, it should be upheld! But noooo, the city officials have taken to installing cameras and if someone tries to climb the fence, they get arrested!

    But eehr.. yeah. We are completely normal here in Sweden, I promise!😉

    (I have a crossbow. If I was there we could send a burning arrow. And even if we got arrested it would be worth it. “Do you have any felony convictions?” “Just one. I set a giant goat on fire in Sweden. But it’s traditional, so…” ~ Jenny)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Merry Christmas to you and yours!! Congrats on the success of your funding campaign! Thanks for sharing the sweet song! I’ve grown tired of dreaming of a White Christmas, all the day long.

    Like

  12. Next year your holiday decor MUST include a hay-stuffed goat somewhere. The universe has willed it so. Merry Christmas!

    Like

    Gina W. recently posted I'm a horrible party guest.

  13. Merry Christmas! Best wishes for a new year of health and happiness!
    PS Straw and hay are very different.

    Like

  14. I’ve heard of burning a mule, but not a goat. God bless Urban Dictionary.

    Like

    Dory recently posted Birth control..

  15. Some day I hope to read that Jenny has booked a ticket to Sweden and Hanna is putting clean sheets in the guest room. #HaveCrossBowWillTravel

    Like

  16. Don’t need to climb the fence. Lasers!!
    http://m.wickedlasers.com/Laser_Accessories-11-1.html

    Like

  17. 17
    Mike Richards

    The giant goat thing has also spread to Iceland in recent years courtesy of IKEA, so it’s definitely moving your way. And the charming tradition of burning it has followed – which is pretty impressive considering the Icelandic climate at this time of year.

    Like

  18. That year when the police went out in the newspapers, saying that they’re “looking for a santa claus and a gingerbread man that shot the christmas goat with an bow and flaming arrow and burned it down”, that year it was totally worth it. Totally.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I get it. I really want to set some ppl on fire right now. If there was a giant ass made of straw outside i would not be able to resist pointing my fury at it. It sounds like that tradition saves lives

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  20. Some people light candles, others burn goats. To each his own when it comes to celebrating. Merry Christmas, Jenny.

    Like

    Sandy the Fearless Scribe recently posted Merry Merry!.

  21. A quadicopter carrying a candle lantern could be launched from far away.

    Like

  22. There’s a town here in Ireland where the locals go up to the mountains and take a goat, crown it “King of the Goats” and display it in the town for the day. It’s a huge festival. They don’t burn the goat, thankfully. He’s also set free again, to return and brag of his new royal title to his goat friends.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puck_Fair

    Like

  23. My kind of Christmas song. Geeky Santa Baby

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  24. Merry Christmas, Jenny. If I had a giant goat, I would set fire to it in your honour (can we add this tradition to the Blogessian observances?)

    Like

  25. It’s like town officials are taunting the populace with this giant straw goat. I mean, why erect a giant straw goat unless it’s to set it on fire?

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  26. i am a Christian, was not at all offended, found the song beautiful and ‘sentimental’, and think you are the most hysterical women of our time. Like flying to Italy in the middle of the night on a dark plane, reading ‘Let’s Pretend”, laughing out load so many times a lady kicked my seat several times and peeing on myself a little, hysterical. I can’t tell you how many passages I tried to read out loud to my 17 year old son but couldn’t because of the choking laughter and tears streaming down my face. Totally cool!
    Sweet song. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  27. Maybe that’s what happened at Phoenixville, PA…. except that was scheduled to burn, they could have just waited 18 hours… http://www.firebirdfestival.com/home.htm

    Like

  28. 29
    lensaddiction

    Im not all all surprised that Jenny has a crossbow, just sayin!

    Like

  29. Another tradition of the Yule Goat, according to Wikipedia:

    Objects made out of straw or roughly-hewn wood could also be called the Yule goat, and in older Scandinavian society a popular Christmas prank was to place this Yule goat in a neighbour’s house without them noticing; the family successfully pranked had to get rid of it in the same way.

    A Merry Yule to you all and a Joyful Feast of Christ’s Circumcision.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yule_Goat

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feast_of_the_Circumcision_of_Christ

    And Tim Minchin is appropriate for every season.

    Like

  30. Horrible and Evil. I will pray for you.
    Just kidding. Burning goats are shit compared to you.

    Like

    notquiteold recently posted O Christmas Pan!.

  31. So, if I lived in Sweden, would I need to light one goat for each night of Chanukah? I don’t even know where to get goats, much less a menorah big enough to hold nine goats!

    Like

  32. It’s like the Burning Goat of Sweden! …That was cooler in my head.
    It’s like the authorities want to see it burn. Why else would they put a web cam on it?
    And I second the thanks for introducing us to Tim Minchin.

    Like

  33. I have never heard that song, what a lovely end to my Christmas Day thank you.

    Like

    cupcakethegreat recently posted Wishing you a manic little christmas.

  34. I was happy you put up another blog. I needed a little bit of weird funny-ness today. My Christmas kinda sucked after half a tree fell on my brand new van.

    Like

  35. One of my favourite Christmas songs as well. I love Tim Minchin.

    This year it makes me a bit sad …. I’m entering a time of solitude, which I think will be good in the long run, but in the short it’s tough. Still, one never knows what life holds, and if this year is meant to be solitary, perhaps a year or two from now will not be. It seems to be cyclical if we let it be so.

    Thank you for … everything.

    Like

  36. Am I the only one crying my eyes out after listening to the song? I’m certain someone else in this tribe has been blessed with a mascara-stained face and a husband sweetly asking if they forgot to take their meds today.

    (It makes me cry too. But in a good way. Tim Minchin is like that. ~ Jenny)

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  37. I love everything about that song. Thank you for sharing – somehow I had never heard it before.

    Like

  38. thank you for helping make this an amazing Christmas. For the first time ever my son was excited for presents and understood what they were. You and this tribe made sure he had something to open today. Thank you for drawing so many awesome, odd people together to make this amazing community.

    Like

  39. Hi Jenny, can I ask you a weird question? I’m concerned I might have depression, but I don’t want to be dramatic. I’m really scared that I’ll get people upset over nothing or just cause more issues by seeking help or talking to someone. Do you have any suggestions? I’m also a young adult living with my parents, so I’m scared to talk to them or that they’ll blame it on my age. I just want things to be more okay.

    (Telling your parents exactly what you just wrote is a great start. It might be hormones or it might be depression or something else, but if it’s affecting your quality of life you should get it checked out. There are some online tests you can take to help identify if you currently have indicators for depression and that might help. You can go to your regular doctor to get advice or a referral, or if you’re in college you can see the college therapist for free. They won’t usually prescribe anything but they can tell you if it’s something you need to seek treatment for or if it’s something that may just pass. Sometimes if it’s mild, temporary depression they can give you non medical help and tools, like light therapy or exercise or other things that naturally increase endorphins. You’re going to be okay. You’re taking the steps you need to take to ensure that you’re healthy and that’s something your parents should be proud of. ~ Jenny)

    Like

  40. I love the James Garfield thread, I keep going back to it! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    Like

    janice recently posted Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!.

  41. Hay goat arson?

    Man I love Sweden. And I adore that Minchin song too.

    Like

    Claire recently posted Christmas Eve.

  42. OMG Jenny – instructions for how to draw Sparky, the sloth!!! I can only draw stick figures so this is beyond my capabilities but thought you might like to have a go ….
    http://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/gallery/2014/dec/26/how-to-draw-a-sloth

    Like

  43. Speaking of Nordic Christmas traditions.
    In Iceland, they have, the Jólaköttturinn a Giant black cat that luirks around on Christmas in the snow eating impoverished children and their families who did not get new clothes for Christmas.
    http://www.simnet.is/gardarj/yule11.htm

    Björk even sang a song about it:

    Like

  44. Awesome song! And I sincerely hope no one set you on fire this Christmas.

    Like

    terib19 recently posted Elf on the awww HELL no!!! And other holiday musings....

  45. That looks like a cross between a dog and a Venus fly trap. Maybe I’m looking at it wrong? Sweden seems awesome. Oh, you’re burning our goat, cool, I like bonfires!

    Like

    Jane @ The Blue Morpho recently posted That Serial Killer I Dated, Part I.

  46. I’m half-Swedish and never heard of Jul, the straw goat. Of course I was born here and live in Connecticut but that’s beside the point.

    Like

    Musings, Rants & Scribbles recently posted 5 Guilty Pleasures I Should Give Up in 2015... but Probably Won't..

  47. I love smart songs. Thanks, Jenny. I needed that.

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  48. Just a heads-up that there’s a lost package of Hanes undies still making its way home to a Christmas wishes recipient…it keeps getting mis-delivered. So if you’re missing undies, they should show up soon. And have a great story to tell.

    Like

  49. I expect nothing less than awesome and you did not disappoint; you never do. Hugs from a 1/4 Swedish Tim Minchin fan.

    Like

  50. so, the song made me cry. Thank you for introducing me to my new favorite holiday song. (How have I not known about this?) but what made me cry even more were the comments. I am typing this through tears and autocorrect, so it will be a miracle If it makes sense. I love the community here. There is so much wit and wisdom and kindness…all tempered with snark and warped minds, I love coming here, so thank you to everyone. Can we meet for coffee?

    Like

  51. Sort of like Burning Man but less nekkid hippies and desert?

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    Marianne recently posted Ballin'.

  52. Love the Tim Minchin song! Thank you ever so for sharing it! I, in turn, will share it with my family and bask in the serenity of having a family that will appreciate it as much as we don’t! Yay 😊
    Magistra13 at yahoo dot com
    Beth

    Like

  53. Oh my gosh, that is supposed to say, as much as we DO! Goodness!

    Like

  54. 55
    Laura A.. Dillivan

    Tim Minchin, aka god of brilliantly funny musical comedy, has become adored by one and all in our household. Yesterday (Christmas Day) we all watched his performance of “Thank You, God” filmed at St. Albert’s Hall in London. It was our pre-dinner hilarity. I can’t recommend it highly enough (unless you find the idea of disparaging an all-knowing, selectively miracle performing God on the birthday of his revered son to be sacrilegious. In that case, I don’t recommend it at all).

    Like

  55. Thank you so much for the new (to me) Christmas song. He explains so nicely just how I feel about All The Christmas Things. I will look for more of his music, he is lovely.

    Like

  56. You know who Tim Minchin is! I saw him in a small NYC theater several years ago. He’s witty, sarcastic, smart. He plays piano, sings, wrote the music for Matilda the Broadway show. He’s great.

    Like

  57. Love the song!

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  58. My personal favorite: Dar Williams, The Christians and the Pagans.

    You’re welcome.

    Like

  59. That’s my favorite Christmas song, too! I was just thinking, “Should I go watch ‘White Wine in the Sun’ on YouTube, or should I see what the Bloggess is up to?” Little did I know, I can do both!!🙂

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  60. Lisa B. I love that song too! I listen to it all year long.

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  61. Lisa B! A new Christmas song for my collection🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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  62. Holiday cheer AND fire? Best. Christmas. Ever.

    Like

  63. I want to go to Sweden sooo bad!! If I ever do I will take pics of this “alleged” goat and send them to you;) Along with all the death metal albums that I am going to buy there.

    Like

    Donna recently posted Gift Wrapping Machine: Roomba or Wrapba.

  64. Must be Sweden’s form of Burning Man.

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  65. I am fascinated by Jul the burning goat. I think maybe we should sponsor Jul to go to the Burning Man festival this year.

    Like

  66. I like how the first piece mentioned that the goat had been attacked by a gingerbread man in such an offhanded way,as if this were just an everyday kind of a thing.
    I think I would like to live in Sweden.

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  67. Just an fyi, the goat itself is not named Jul, Jul literally means christmas🙂 So “Jul goat” is Christmas goat🙂

    Like

  68. Oh,and Jenny, you and your crossbow is welcome anytime, haha!

    Like

  69. If I saw a goat made of straw I’d probably set it on fire too.

    Like

  70. Crap in a hand basket! That’s my favorite Christmas song, too, even though it always makes me cry like a baby. Especially now that most of my family is so far away. I even did a belly dance to it last year!

    Like

  71. I don’t know how I’ve missed Tim Minchin but I’ve spent the last 2 days listening to everything he has on YouTube. I made sure my sister saw it and she sobbed like a baby. We are the latest Tim fans!!!! And Jenny, I so want to buy your calendar but I don’t want to have to explain November to my 5 year old grand daughters. They’re fine readers, and my daughters will not be happy with me when those girls come home with the F-bomb and say they read it on Grammie’s wall 😉. Have a wonderful New Year. I think you must be part of our family, somehow!

    Like

  72. I consider Tim Minchin to be a genius. They banned this song from the ‘Jonathan Ross Christmas Show’ a couple of years ago here in good ol’ Blighty. It was a travesty, and I’m pretty sure helped increase his fan base here exponentially.

    Yay for irreverence.

    Hope you have a fantastic New Year Jenny🙂

    Like

    PinkNoam recently posted “BT – Awkward is our Speciality”.

  73. Merry Christmas! I cannot look at Tim Minchin without missing Atticus Fetch and everything that ever was Californication… LOVE IT! I will pray for you anyway, since it’s Christmas & all…🙂

    Like

  74. Atlas Obscura (disclaimer: I write for that site sometimes) has a special fondness for the goat, and has a “Goat Watch” on its Twitter feed to check in about “has it burned yet”. (Their main article on the goat is here: http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/gavle-goat )

    But there is an even WEIRDER tradition in Catalonia which I wrote about years ago (offline) – the “Tio de Nadal”, which is a hollowed-out log with a smiley face painted on it; the kids feed it throughout December, and then Christmas morning the whole family takes turns beating it with sticks until it “poops” out candy.

    http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/caga-tio

    And that’s actually not the ONLY poop-related thing the Catalonians do – every one of their nativity scenes includes a figurine of someone taking a dump. Usually they’re hidden in the back (sometimes families make it a weird “Where’s Waldo” type of game for the kids), and usually it’s a shepherd, but they also make figurines of different cartoon characters or political figures dropping trou.

    http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/el-caganer

    Like

    KWadsworth recently posted We’ll Dance And Sing “Noel Noel”.

  75. My hairdresser, who grew up in Sweden, told me about a village there where everyone is very short. You can go and visit even if you’re normal height although apparently you’re constantly ducking your head, or hitting it. I supposed it’s fun to sit in little chair with your knees up to your chin. I don’t think she’d pull my leg but I can’t find it online. Maybe only Swedes can see it.

    Like

    Jillian recently posted Don't be scared to look back.

  76. Love that song, love the goat, love that you have a crossbow. Trifecta of happy thoughts.

    Like

  77. OH EM GEE. I’m a Taurus and I CAN’T EAT CHEESE. You’re a genius at being psychic. Can one be a genius at that. Plus my life has tragedy (not the BeeGee’s song) and part of that is that I can’t eat cheese. Well I can eat really, really old cheese that has low lactose but that’s besides the point.

    Like

  78. Oops, I put my Taurus/cheese comment on the wrong post. MOAR TRAGEDY!

    Like

  79. My friends and I read the story of the goat in Sweeden several years ago so we do a burnign of the goat usually in Feburary (like what else is there to do in February?) using a stray and wood goat. It’s really an excuse to have a party in someone’s back yard. 🙂

    Like

  80. I love Tim Minchin, and especially that song! I find myself singing the ‘socks, jocks, and chocolates is just fine by me…’ line over and over. 😀 xx

    Like

  81. I had a Swedish email pal (we bonded over ice hockey), and one year he sent me a small straw goat for Christmas. He said it was traditional to set it on fire for Christmas! I didn’t.

    P.S. LOVE Tim Minchin

    Like

  82. I read some posts and think, “I really like that Jenny.” Then I read others and think, “Oh, good golly, we are so alike!.” So, I guess that means I like myself and I thank you for that. I also like Tim Minchin. See – we are alike.

    Like

  83. I just thought that I should let you all know that the x-mas goat of Gavle managed to survive x-mas this year. Better luck next year arsonists!

    Like

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