News Nov 26, 2013

Celebrating Christmas in Iceland

Learn about Iceland's Christmas traditions & win a prize from our 13 Yuletide Lads!

What better place is there to celebrate Christmas than in Iceland’s winter wonderland?

Iceland’s Christmas season is upon us, meaning the country’s unique holiday traditions are in full swing! From the lighting of Reykjavik’s Oslo tree, a beautiful evergreen given to Reykjavik residents by the city of Oslo and put on display in Austurvöllur Square, to the Christmas Book Flood, Icelanders certainly know how to get in the holiday spirit.

In Reykjavik, which CNN has twice selected as one of the best places to spend the Christmas holidays, a number of beautiful locations across the city are being transformed into dedicated Advent areas. The Christmas Valley in Laugardalur, Christmas Island in Viðey, a Christmas Market in Ingólfstorg Square, the Christmas Village in Hafnarfjörður, an Advent Calendar at the Nordic House and the charming Christmas Harbour will all host festive events and activities throughout the month of December.

Iceland’s notorious Christmas Creatures will return to visit the capital city as well. Everyone is invite to take part in the ‘Hunt for the Christmas Creatures,’ a fun activity for the whole family that includes riddles, prizes and more.

Complementing the Christmas Creatures are Iceland’s thirteen Santa Clauses or Yuletide Lads, who live in the mountains and descend upon Iceland’s towns over the thirteen days leading up to Christmas. Icelandic children leave one of their best shoes near an open window before bedtime and awake to find a small gift in the shoe from a Yuletide Lad. Of course, it pays to be good – naughty children will only receive a raw potato!

Icelandic children aren’t the only ones who can receive presents from Iceland’s 13 Santa Clauses this year. Now that you’ve read up on how Icelanders celebrate Christmas, enter our trivia contest for the chance to win one of 13 presents from our Yuletide Lads! The 13 gifts range from Icelandic wool sweaters (lopapeysa) to Blue Lagoon gift sets, and one lucky winner will be selected each day from December 12-24. Click here to enter!

Merry Christmas! Or as we say in Icelandic, Gleðileg jól!

Click here to learn more about Icelandic Christmas traditions.