Winter has tumbled from the sky and the holidays are nearly upon us. Soon the tree will be up and stockings will require stuffing. Families will be rounded up and you’ll be schmoozing at Christmas parties with bosses you barely know. And presents are tough to buy! Who the hell knows what to buy for their spouse’s uncle? We have come up with a bunch of helpful suggestions to make your shopping experience a bit easier and give you a push to not leave it to the last minute. (Yeah, right!)
Nothing says Christmas like some snazzy knitwear and when it comes to rocking both function and fashion, Icelandic designers do it pretty damn right. The handmade birds-of-Iceland sweaters at Minja (29.900 ISK, Skólavörðustígur 12) have caught our eye this year; light and cosy and adorned with the winged fowl of your choice. A great selection of handmade lopapeysa sweaters at various prices can always be found at the Kolaportið flea market on weekends (Tryggvagata). In case you’re rolling in dough this year, definitely treat yourself or someone you love to one of Vík Prjónsdóttir’s wonderfully off-kilter designs (13.500-72.000 ISK at SPARK Design Space, Klapparstígur 33 or www.sparkdesignspace.com).
DECK THE HALLS
Gifts don’t have to be big or cost a lot to get great fun and a long life out of. A deck of cards is something no respectable human being should be without. Cards carry more weight when they’re received as a gift anyway! Just make sure not to break out those bad boys to play before midnight on December 25, or else you’ll be bringing yourself bad luck—Icelandic folklore says you’ll find five Jacks and one of them is THE DEVIL (under 2.000 ISK, any book or tourist shop).
The dark winter calls for nothing better than covering your entire apartment in candles. They are warm and romantic and make versatile gifts for both close ones and fresh acquaintances. There is a great selection of locally designed candles and candleholders at Minja on Skólavörðustígur, shaped or decorated with themes from Icelandic folklore and nature. Check out the particularly cool Lady of the Mountain candles in the national colours (3.000 ISK).
TOTALLY ROCKING TUNES
After mandatory quiet family time on Christmas Day, it’s time to kick the party off again in a big way and tear the shrink-wrap off some new compact discs. The past year has been really good for new local releases, like for instance Gang Related’s ‘Stunts & Rituals’, Of Monsters And Men’s ‘My Head Is An Animal’, Nóló’s ‘Nology’ and of course the indispensable new album by HAM, ‘Svik, harmur og dauði’. If someone you know doesn’t have one of these, stop by one of your local independent record shops and pick them up!
EAT, DRINK AND SPLIT YOUR PANTS
If you’re really at a loss for ideas or don’t know the recipient of your present beyond what cubicle they sit in, you can’t go too wrong with forking over a bunch of chocolate and/or booze! Christmas beer (jólabjór) is a particularly loved seasonal treat and a nice bottle of red wine or two does well to make some hot, mulled wine (jólaglögg). Top it off with an assorted box of Nóa Síríus chocolates and chocolate covered espresso beans from Te & Kaffi? Decadent!
THE KEY TO THE CITY
If optimal and repeated use is what you have in mind for the presents you give, the gift of activity goes a long way! Great things come in tiny packages with the City Culture Card (3.000-5.000 ISK, menningarkort.is) giving a year’s access to the Reykjavík Art Museum, the Reykjavík City Library and the Iceland Settlement Centre. Throw in a yearly pass to every pool in town (34.000 ISK, at any pool location) and your giftee will be sitting pretty and warm!
AND WE’LL ALL FLOAT ON
If your giftee is already covered with their own pool card, or at least the kind of pool-goer who does less swimming and more slumping, help them stay safe and lazy with the stylish new FLOAT swimcap by designer Unnur Valdís Kristjánsdóttir (13.900, SPARK Design Space). It does exactly what the name implies, comes in three sizes and is equally fun to use at the pool, in the ocean or just at home in the tub!