DIY Expert Ken Wingard delves into an ancient Nordic tradition with this yuletide decoration.


  • Wheat Straw
  • Twine
  • Scissors
  • Red ribbon
  • Place to soak wheat
  • Cookie sheet
  • Weighted objects (for pressing down straw in water)


1. First, cut the tops off of all of your wheat.

2. Then use twine to tie little bundles together about 3 inches in diameter.
*Tie the twine in the center of your bundles. *

3. Once you have your bundles, they need to be soaked for at least 5 hours in hot water. Place a cookie sheet on top with something to weigh it down so the straw gets submerged.
*Hot water makes the straw more pliable and less brittle. *

4. Give the bundles about 30 minutes after soaking before you work with it.

5. Take your first bundle and measure out how long you want your legs and torso to be.

6. Next, separate one end into two even sections and tie them off, these will be the hind legs.
*If you want to make a tail for your yule goat pull a few stalks of wheat out to braid in the center before you separate. *

7. To create your hind legs, hang the leg bundles off the table and carefully press downward to bend, making a crisp corner.

8. On the opposite end of this bundle separate a quarter of the bundle on top (the back of your goat) and bend it upward to form the neck. Tie it off.

9. Separate the excess wheat evenly and tie off to form the front legs and bend them downward.

10. Bend the front legs back up and place a second bundle of straw parallel to the underneath of your yule goat’s belly, tie it off.
*The second bundle will add structure and fill out the head, neck and front legs of your yule goat. *

11. Where your front legs begin, separate the bundle into thirds.

12. Use the edge of the table to bend the two outer bundles downward and the center bundle upward. Secure each bundle to the corresponding leg or the neck with twine as you bend.

13. If necessary, untie any parts you need to even out the neck, belly or leg area. Retie.

14. To create the head grab about 1/3 of the straw from the neck bundle from the front, bend it downward and tie off to the neck. Then bend the rest of the straw from that bundle downward to and tie off to the first part you bent.
*Bending all at once is very difficult and could snap the straw. *

15. Trim all uneven straw at the end of the nose and feet.

16. Braid the straw horns for your goat.

17. Wrap the goat in thin red ribbon, use this to secure your horns in place on the head.

18. If the legs are at awkward angles tie them up with twine and allow the straw to dry in that position overnight.

19. Untie and enjoy!

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