Christmas and New Years in Iceland

We were fortunate enough to get to spend Christmas and New Year’s in Iceland, and therefore got to experience their traditions.


While out for Christmas festivities we saw this water fountain. We thought it was crazy that one it was running constantly, and two it was constantly freezing as it was running down the edges.


In Iceland they “believe” in elves , fairies, and trolls. Specifically they have the thirteen “Yule Lads”. We bought the book that explains their story because we found it really fascinating. We plan to read the book to our kids some day and make it a part of our Christmas tradition! According to Wikipedia, “They put rewards or punishments into shoes placed by children in window sills during the last thirteen nights before Christmas Eve. Every night, one Yuletide lad visits each child, leaving gifts or rotting potatoes, depending on the child’s behaviour throughout the year.”


We thought it was so cool how they project the Yule Lads up on the sides of buildings. The Yule Lads each have a name and different personality, my favorite was “spoon licker” and Jeb’s favorite was “window peeper” lol.


We also got to experience Iceland’s CRAZY New Year’s Eve.


In Iceland basically any fireworks are legal, anywhere, anytime. So instead of having official fireworks, they just had fireworks going off in every single direction you could see. It was literally 360 degrees of fireworks. We felt like it sounded like a warzone, it was insane.





People were literally setting off huge fireworks from the middle of the street here. They would wait for a quick gap in the cars, and then run out and set it off.


They lit up the Harpa (where they do concerts and other events) for New Year’s!



The other big Icelandic tradition for New Year’s Eve, is HUGE bonfires. This was literally the largest bonfire either of us had ever seen. They had a full size fire truck at it to manage it and the firefighters were the ones actually making the fire, kind of ironic lol. But I guess they are the safest people for managing a huge fire!


Every little bit they would pour gasoline on it and it would shoot up high even larger! There wasn’t just one of these fires, they were all over the city!


Painful ice pellets were coming down on us in our eyes when we faced this direction, that is why we look so silly in all of these pictures.


I did not want to leave the fire, it was so warm and really pretty looking.



We could barely keep our eyes open for this picture!




I enjoyed the chaotic fireworks in every direction, and I LOVED the bonfire tradition, but I do have to admit I still missed not having an “official choreographed” firework display like we have in the states.

We missed our American holiday traditions (Pizza- my Christmas tradition, and Chinese- Jeb’s Christmas tradition), but it was really awesome to get to spend the holiday’s in another country.

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