The IKEA Christmas Goat was erected without much fanfare in Garðabær on the outskirts of Reykjavík earlier this week, mbl.is reports. The annual, ill-fated harbinger of the Christmas season has had to be placed under strict surveillance in recent years, as it is frequently a popular target for firebugs.
The Christmas Goat is based on traditional, albeit much smaller, straw Yule Goat figurines, and originated in Gävle, Sweden in 1966. IKEA in Iceland adopted the tradition in 2009. Neither the Swedish original nor its Icelandic cousin has fared terribly well over the years. The Gävle Goat has been burned to the ground or damaged 37 times. Meanwhile, the Christmas Goat in Garðabær has been subject to numerous pyromanical attacks and was successfully burned down by arsonists three times (in 2010, 2012, and 2016). It seemingly self-immolated in 2015, when it caught fire due to an electrical malfunction. But even in years when it hasn’t burned down, the Christmas Goat hasn’t fared much better: harsh winter winds have knocked it over on more than one occasion.
Last year, a spoof event on Facebook urging thousands to rush the Christmas Goat and burn it en masse led IKEA to place the doomed monument under 24-surveillance. What lies in store for the Christmas Goat this year remains to be seen, although one could easily argue that 2020 is perhaps not the best year to start being optimistic.