Iceland with young boys over Christmas
July 23, 2015 7:13 PM   Subscribe

My family is going to Iceland over Christmas vacation! Yay! But.. well, the reasons are mostly "it's cheap to get to" and "it's different than anywhere we've ever been" and "it's time the kids start learning how much bigger the world is than the United States". Are we insane?

Is going in late December going to drive us all crazy from lack of light and lack of warmth and nothing to do? Are there department stores where they can sit on Odin's lap and tell Huginn and Muninn what they want for Christmas? Will I be jailed for making jokes like that?

Inquiring minds.. any and all information appreciated (and yes, I'm reading through everything I can find, but if you have specific links, please pass them on).

posted by DoubtingThomas to Travel & Transportation around Iceland (7 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
You are not at all insane! Iceland is one of my favourite places. My ex's stepdad is Icelandic, and so we incorporated a bunch of Icelandic Xmas traditions. My conclusion - Icelandic Xmas is the best Xmas.

There is a lack of light, and a lack of (physical) warmth, but I expect part of the thing that makes an Icelandic Xmas so special is that they Xmas extra hard to make up for that.

If you can't find an Icelandic family to take you in for a traditional Xmas meal - which I would recommend somehow doing, although I don't have any suggestions along those lines, then make sure you have one anyway. This place sounds very promising.

While you're there, teach the kids about the 12! Yule Lads, and give little gifts to each other the 12 days before Christmas day. Make sure you get each other some new clothes while you are there, lest you be eaten by the Yule Cat.

In addition, make sure you have the famous Hot dogs, and take a dip in one of Reykjavik's toasty (and eggy, but it's all part of the experience ) hot baths.

The Blue Lagoon is spendy, but honestly I'd say worth it, especially since Reykjanes peninsula looks like a beautiful alien planet.

One last thing - make sure you have some kleinur. Yum!
posted by Jon Mitchell at 7:35 PM on July 23, 2015 [10 favorites]

It will be cold and dark in Iceland in the winter, but not like Alaska or arctic Canada. The ocean currents moderate its temperature a bit.
posted by dfriedman at 10:04 PM on July 23, 2015

You might like Names for the Sea, a memoir written by a professor who worked there for a year with her spouse and two young children in tow.
posted by jrobin276 at 11:15 PM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

I just took my 7 year old there for the exact reasons you mentioned. I saw lots of people there with kids. One wonderful lady I met - it was just she and her son - drove the ring road in three days!

Iceland at Christmas sounds AWESOME. Check out the Yule lads. It will be dark but not too cold. People come to New England for Christmas and it's colder.

Iceland has really great sagas, gods and myths. They show up over there often and my son (and husband) really got into it. I had read the Icelandic sagas coincidentally and I'm glad I did. I'd grab a couple books online and read up.

Although renting a apartment is great for a family it might be nice to be in a guesthouse with other people.

Staying in Iceland at a cozy guesthouse sounds like an amazing Christmas to me! If you'd like, let me know your budget I'll let you know if any of the guesthouses seem like they might be right for you. I did a LOT of research. (I really wanted it to be a special trip for my husband) Let me know if you have any question - I'll help if I can.

Downside - lugging bulky cold weather clothes if you are traveling WOW.

Bonus- Northern Lights!
posted by ReluctantViking at 5:44 AM on July 24, 2015

This is a great idea. It will be dark, yes, but full of holiday cheer. Maybe you can catch some northern lights. I would try to go places to meet and be around people.
posted by J. Wilson at 8:38 AM on July 24, 2015

I can't speak for Iceland, but I spent this past Christmas in Denmark. It was unforgettably, amazingly, stupendously, fantastically MARVELOUS. It wasn't as dark as during the day as Iceland might be, but for holiday cheer and festive spirit, it couldn't be more perfect. We stayed at a comfortable hostel, and there were a surprising number of travelers from other countries enjoying the season there.

I suspect that all of the Nordic/ Scandinavian countries share that particular special Christmas spirit - it's like something out of a cozy Christmas movie, for those of us that don't live in the region. You'll have a blast!

Pro-tip: If you want to avoid lugging bulky winter clothing, I'd take one warm parka and boots, and buy what you need there (unless you live somewhere like the Midwest, in which case you probably have the necessary gear).
posted by Everydayville at 11:01 AM on July 24, 2015

Shouldn't there be travel guides about this? Online videos with Rick Steves? And you could always ask in Reddit's Iceland /sub, assuming they have one.
posted by Beholder at 3:21 PM on July 24, 2015

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