Christmas Pranks on the Family Farms

An Iowan recalls traditional Christmas pranks during her childhood on the family farm

| Good Old Days

At Christmas time on family farms in our predominately Norwegian neighborhood, people celebrated for a whole week. Farmers went visiting after their chores were done or entertained in their own homes.

"Yule Buk" was Norwegian for Christmas Pranks. It was a lot of fun. People dressed in comical costumes and wore masks. They usually walked from one farm to the other to see if their identity could be guessed. The ridiculous clothing they wore and the fact that they disguised their voices made this difficult.

Householders guessed many times and often the "foolers" got away without being guessed correctly.

At most family farms they were invited in for wine or coffee and cookies-but only if someone guessed who they were.

One evening, the neighborhood men gathered at one house to play cards in honor of the first born. The wives cleverly decided to be Yule Buks. The men were thoroughly surprised, and most of the women escaped without being identified.

Somehow, this clever little game has fallen by the wayside. It was a lot of fun, but the younger generation wanted to get in their cars and do something new and different.

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