My Iceland – Icelandic Christmas

My Iceland – Icelandic Christmas

“Outside Travel has several Icelanders who write articles for us under the name “My Iceland”. The articles contain different topics related to Iceland. Some articles are in english.

We call the writers Outside Travel Ambassadors”

This article is about the Icelandic Christmas and is written by Sigurgeir Mar, who lives in Reykjavik together with his wife and 3 children. 

My Iceland – Icelandic Christmas

Christmas Sock
Christmas sock in the window

“Obviously, do my kids leave a sock in the window on every night from the the 12th December to Christmas eve”. This was pretty much what I answer my cousin who asked how the “Yule Lad” tradition was carried out in our house. The 13 “Jólasveinar” in Icelandic or “Yule Lads” has always been a tradition in our house. Also when I grew up as a child we used to put out socks in the window. We wanted to be sure to get gifts from the Yule Lads that came to visit all Icelandic children. We only got gifts if we had behaved. 

I like this Icelandic Christmas tradition and the excitement my kids have when they realize that the Yule Lads have given them gifts. The 24th December, when the Kertasnikir / Candle-Stealer comes, is usually a little bit different. Its Christmas so the kids normally get a larger gift and always gift wraped.

Christmas Eve on the 24th December

On Christmas Eve we meet up with our closest family and eat smoked ham (hamborgarahryggur in Icelandic). After dinner we open presents and dance around the Christmas tree. Around 22:00 hrs. we make hot chocolate with cream and cookies.

Hallgrimskirkja with Christmas lights
Hallgrimskirkja with Christmas lights

On 25th of December the family meets and eat Hangikjot (Icelandic smoked lamb) together. We always have a big Christmas party on 26th of December with the big family.

During the Icelandic Christmas month of December we traditionally eat more smoked lamb than the rest of the year. It is very popular to have double smoked lamb in the kitchen in December and cut a slice for tasting. If you visit Iceland during Christmas you will find a lot the Yule Lads all over the city together with colored Christmas lights. It is very beautiful. Maybe you think that you will also find a lot of snow but actually we do not get much snow in Reykjavik, maby 2-3 months each winter.

New Years Eve

New Years eve is that one day a year where fireworks is allowed in Iceland. This means that everyone takes the opportunity to buy fireworks and go crazy at midnight! The sky is lid up with sparkling colors and firecrackers. It is something you should experience if you visit during New Year.

Christmas tree in Reykjavik

Written by Outside Travels Ambassador Sigurgeir Mar, who lives in Reykjavik together with his wife and 3 children. 

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