Reykjavík is a cosy and festive place to be at Christmas, from the decoration-festooned downtown streets to pop-up markets, special concerts and a city-centre skating rink at Ingólfstorg. Here are some recommended events to ease you into the holiday spirit.
Heiðmörk Christmas Fair & Market
December Weekends – Heiðmörk – 11:00-17:00 – Free!
There are few gatherings more Christmassy than this annual get together, deep in the pine forested park of Heiðmörk. There people can buy handmade crafts, foods and gifts, take in readings and musical performances, cut their own Christmas tree at Hólmsheiði, and generally soak in the wonderful Christmas atmosphere. JR
Christmas Zine & Print Fair
December 9th – IÐNÓ – 10:30-17:30 – Free!
Remember flannel, riot grrrls, and DIY anarchy? While the dream of the ‘90s might be over, zine culture is still going strong. Check out a Christmas selection of Reyjavík’s finest at what is bound to be the only Christmas event in the country that’ll get you both politically, artistically, and spiritually fulfilled, all while supporting local creators. Cool schmool! HJC
December 9th-Jan 13th – The Nordic House – 10:00-17:00 daily – Free!
Icelandic mythology is pretty bleak, and that includes during Christmas, when a series of nasty dwarves come to terrorise locals, a giant cat devours kids who don’t have new clothes, and the ringleader of all this macabre Christmas horror, Grýla the ogress, kidnaps children in a sack and eats them. All of this is, of course, great and grisly fuel for artists: check out how Grýla has been represented over the years at this exhibition. JR
Ice Skating In Ingólfstorg
Until December 24th – Ingólfstorg – 12:00-22:00 – Free! (990 ISK to rent skates)
‘I, Tonya’ was inspiring, so here’s a chance to channel your own twirling saboteur with a jaunt around Ingólfstorg’s skating rink. Bring your lover or your mother and get those cheeks ruddy as you try to prove that you could have been an Olympic skater, had your parents only believed in you. HJC
December 15th – Gamla Bíó – 20:00 – 3,990 ISK
For non-Icelandic speakers, Prins Póló can be a bit bemusing—both his lyrics and banter draw uproarious laughter from the audience, leaving útlendingar feeling as if they’ve wandered into a stranger’s wedding reception. The tunes, however, work in any language—this Prins is a king of earworm indie-pop gems. JR
Ho, Ho, Ho, and even more Hos
December 7th, 15th & 22nd – Various Venues
While Eurovision might be “Gay Christmas,” there’ll be a number of drag events around the city this month. Don’t miss Drag-Súgur’s Christmas extravaganza at Gaukurinn on December 7th at 21:00, and Kiki Queer Bar’s three ‘Out Of Control’ holiday hoe-downs on December 7th, 15th, and 22nd at 21:00. PS: Unlike Santa, our queens don’t stop at three hos. HJC
Bagdad brothers & Teitur Jóló Party
Dec 27th – IÐNÓ – 20:00 – Free!
If you’re feeling bloated from big meals and done with rewatching Home Alone movies, it’s time to reemerge into society. Teitur and bagdad brothers released album-of-the-year contenders in 2018, and both have a warm, fuzzy, feel-good vibes, so this double-header concert will get you out of your armchair without bursting that pleasant Christmas mood. JR