So, we still have to wait until December for Christmas but to be honest, waiting is the best part! Advent is the period from the fourth Sunday before Christmas until Christmas Eve and it’s almost a holiday in its own right. Many people decorate their homes with an Advent wreath with four candles, one for every Sunday of Advent. November 28 is the first Sunday of Advent this year.
Christmas tree lighting ceremony
The city’s Official Christmas Tree is lit on the first Sunday of Advent (the fourth Sunday before Christmas). In attendance is the city’s mayor but also the 13 Yule Lads and other entertainers. The Reykjavík Christmas tree stands on Austurvöllur, the square in front of the parliament building. The tree is known as the Oslo tree since for years, a Norwegian tree was shipped over to Reykjavík as a sign of the friendship between the cities. In recent years, city officials on both side of the Atlantic decided it would be better to display this affection in a more environmentally friendly way. The Mayor himself fells the tree in Heiðmörk forest, just outside the city limits.
Christmas Village Hafnarfjörður
Every year, from the end of November until Christmas, downtown Hafnarfjörður turns into a Christmas village. Local children are in charge of decorating the area, and schools create a programme of songs and theatre. Street vendors sell handcrafted items, Icelandic delicacies, and hot drinks. It’s a true winter wonderland with a large Christmas tree and visits from the Yule Lads. This year’s Christmas Village in Hafnarfjörður takes place from November 26 until December 23. It’s open on weekends from 17:00 until 20:00m, on Thorsplan square in the centre of Hafnarfjörður, just 20 minutes by bus from Reykjavík.
Crafts & Design Christmas market at Heiðmörk forest
The annual Crafts & Design Christmas market and the Christmas tree sale in Heiðmörk forest, located on the outskirts of Reykjavík, is open every weekend from the first weekend of Advent until Christmas, from 12:00 to 17:00. The Christmas trees are beautiful and Icelandic-grown, but even if you’re not there to get a tree, there are plenty of activities. You can take a stroll around the arts and crafts market and the kids can sit around the campfire and meet the Yule Lads. If it gets cold, you can always head to the café for a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.