Now appearing at a smartphone near you
As every Iceland-enthusiast knows, the thirteen mischievous Yule Lads take turns leaving small gifts in Icelandic kids’ shoes in the days leading up to December 24—in a particular, predetermined order, no less (we’ve been marking each one’s arrival by posting daily news thereof: read the latest story here). As the Yule Lads are notoriously loopy, they sometimes have a problem remembering when each of them is supposed to head down from the mountains. Yet again, technology has come to the rescue. Yup, there’s an app for that.
The Yule Lad app is simple, yet brilliant. Harnessing the power of social networking, the app sends reminders to Yule Lads (and their fans) through their Facebook accounts. It also features detailed information about each of the Yule Lads, their parents—Grýla and Leppalúði—as well as the formidable Yule Cat.
Yule Lad problems
The app was built by Guðný Þorsteinsdóttir, designer at a small, Reykjavík-based educational software startup called Gebo Kano and mother of a dedicated Yule Lad fan. Guðný says she was worried that the lads were falling behind the times, and wanted to help them get in on the latest technologies. “I have trouble remembering anything if I don’t get a notification from my devices,” Guðný says, “I would probably miss most events if not for calendar and Facebook notifications. I imagined that the Yule Lads might have similar problems, so I decided to create an app to help them remember to deliver the gifts. I’ve also felt the need for something that could help parents such as myself teach our children about the Yule Lads and their history.”
Gebo Kano launched an iPad version of the app in Icelandic and English last year. As it was a great success, they decided add an iPhone version for Christmas 2014. “The reason we put so much emphasis on iPad apps is because all our apps are aimed at children, and they are much more likely to be using an iPad than an iPhone. A lot of people were asking us for an iPhone version of this one, so we decided to go ahead and make that as well.”
Aside from the Yule Lad reminder, Gebo Kano has already created quite a few successful apps, for example their ‘Word Creativity Kit’. “The kit is designed to help children create short stories and poems. It gives the user a chance to think outside of the box, fill the head with new ideas and have fun.” Guðný says. “We want kids to learn through play, to have fun.”