Icelandic Advent Challenge

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Halló allir! I can’t believe how quickly December has gone and it is already Icelandic time. I absolutely loved learning Icelandic last year for our holidays, even if I didn’t get chance to use it much when I was there. Iceland was so magical and I would love to go back for Christmas one year to experience the full effects. Less than 6 hours of daylight and Christmas decorations up for 2 months, you can’t not feel festive there.

Let’s get to it…

Day 17 – Christmas Greetings

Advent Challenge Day 17


This time I have managed to find a nice little lits of Christmas phrases to use when travelling so they are a lot less focused on wishing people festive joy and more about ordering lots of tasty food in Iceland. That is my sort of language learning!

Gleðileg jól! – Merry Christmas!

Gleðilegt nýtt ár! – Happy New Year!

Áttu til hangikjöt? – Do you have any smoked meat?

Má ég fá piparköku? – Can I have a ginger bread cookie?

Get ég fengið heitt kakó með rjóma? – Can I have a cup of hot cocoa with whipped cream, please?

Getur þú pakkað þessu inn? – Could you wrap this up?

“Verða rauð jól í ár? – Do you expect a snowless Christmas this year?

Einn jólabjór, takk. – One Christmas beer, thank you

The last one is clearly the most important. It isn’t Christmas without a nice cold beer!

Day 18 – Christmas Dinner

Advent Challenge Day 18

In centuries past, most Icelanders would choose to have lamb over the festive period in kjötsúpa (lamb soup). Hardly surprising as there are more sheep in Iceland than people… fun fact there for you. I actually tried this last year and it was absolutely amazing. Although this dish is still very common in Iceland it is rare to have this as the main Christmas dish.

Nowadays, the most common dish is hamborgarahryggur (ham), hangikjöt (smoked lamb) and rjúpa (ptarmigan). The Ptarmigan, in case you didn’t know, is gamebird slightly bigger than a grey partridge. Served with this tasty little bird are kartöflur (potatoes), baunir (peas), sósa (gravy) and sulta (jam).

Day 19 – Christmas Carols

Advent Challenge Day 19

If you have seen my previous posts then you will know that Youtube is the holy grail of Christmas carols and so here is the playlist I found of Icelandic treasures.

Day 20 – Christmas Story

Advent Challenge Day 20

I didn’t even have to do much searching for this story as I had seen mountains of shelves in the Icelandic book stores dedicated to the little Yule Lads; in every language under the sun. Unlike us Europeans, the Icelanders have thirteen little Santas called Yule Lads. They are all descendants of trolls and were originally used to scare children but have become a lot friendly over the last century.

The names of the little festive fellows are:

Stekkjastaur – Sheepfold Stick

Giljagaur – Gilly Oaf

Stúfur – Shorty

Þvörusleikir – Spoon-licker

Pottasleikir – Pot-licker

Askasleikir – Bowl-licker

Hurðaskellir – Door-slammer

Skyrgámur – Skyr-glutton

Bjúgnakrækir – Sausage-pilfer

Gluggagægir – Peeper

Gáttaþefur – Sniffer

Ketkrókur – Meat-hook

Kertasníkir – Candle-begger

Each one of the lads will come down from the mountains where they live with their parents, Grýla and Leppalúði, from December 12th to December 23rd. They use to steal all their favourite things or play pranks but now they mainly come baring small gifts for the children. All the children put their best shoe (or boot if they are feeling greedy) and they get a small gift each day. However, they have to be careful because naughty children are given rotten potatoes instead of presents… and nobody wants that! After all the presents are given they head back up to the mountains one by one from Boxing day until January 6th; which is officially the last day of the Christmas period.

If you fancy reading the full story, along with brilliant pictures, then head over to this link on Amazon and add it to your basket.

We are almost there guys! Just one more challenge to go and this is going to be a special one. As the last language is English, which I think I know pretty well, I am going to try something a little different. Stay tuned each day to see what I get up to.

Ciao for now!


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