We all know goats are musically gifted.
You may remember that viral video that really showed the goat's dedication to its craft with its take on Taylor Swift's "I Knew You Were Trouble." (And if you don't remember, please ... take a moment.)
How could it get any better than this?
The Swedish branch of ActionAid has produced an album of popular Christmas songs — sung entirely by goats.
That's right, timeless classics from "White Christmas" to "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" are now available in goat form. The album is titled "All I Want for Christmas Is a Goat" and features eight tracks of festive bleating.
ActionAid hopes the hilarious album will bring more awareness to the organization and its work fighting poverty around the world.
This goat-y Christmas is actually related to Scandinavian tradition.
In the trailer for the album, a soothing Swedish voiceover begins by describing a lovely moment by the fire with "the Christmas goat." They're not just talking about the album here — it's a reference to a Yuletide tradition in Scandinavia and Northern Europe: the Yule goat.
The Yule goat is a tradition that's changed and morphed over time, but is generally thought to stem from Yuletide worship of the Norse god Thor and the two goats that pull his chariot through the sky. All kinds of traditions have stemmed from the Yule goat, including costumed wassailing, mischievous pranks, and decorative goat figures made out of bundled straw.
In the Swedish town of Gävle, a 13-meter-tall straw goat has been built in the town square every year since 1966.
The very first Gävle goat was mysteriously set on fire at midnight on New Year's Eve. Anonymous hooligans have burnt the giant goat roughly half of the years since.
So far this year's Gävle goat appears to be alive and well. Hang in there, buddy!
OK, but how do goats actually help fight poverty, again?
Farm animals like goats are incredibly useful to many people living in poverty. They can:
- Produce food to eat like milk and meat
- Provide milk to sell, adding income for other needs like medicine and school supplies
- Improve the social status of women who own livestock
- Act as loans or savings
- Help fertilize crops with manure
- Be used as a gift to create or strengthen social ties
Heifer International uses our friend the goat to give a specific example:
"In Nepal...the demand for goat meat significantly exceeds the country’s current production capacity [even] when it is supplemented by exports... So the key is to help Nepali farmers produce more and better goat meat, boosting supply and the market chain. [This] will help these farmers help their countrymen and women by...building their own economies as well as the country’s economy."
So, not only are goats a Scandinavian holiday icon, they're also mascots for an awesome approach to alleviating poverty. Kudos to you, goats.
Happy holidays, from the Yule goat to you and yours.
All proceeds will go to ActionAid. Pretty worthwhile, if you ask me.
And for good measure, here's a great take on "Holy Night." Really take in those first few notes and enjoy: