Iceland Mag

7 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Local Recommendations

Svandís Dóra loves Christmas traditions but is not stuck on them

By Sara McMahon

  • Peace and quiet Svandís Dóra Einarsdóttir intends to take things slow this Christmas and just enjoy meeting friends and family, going shopping, decorating and baking. Photo/Stefán 

Svandís Dóra Einarsdóttir, an actor with Þjóðleikhúsið, the National Theater, gets into the Christmas spirit when she and her sisters meet up the day before the first Sunday of Advent, to make their own Christmas decorations, bake cookies, and drink hot chocolate.

 

Where would you take a foreign visitor in order to get into the Christmas spirit?
“I’d take him for a stroll around town, enjoy the Christmas decorations, grab a gingerbread-flavoured café latte to go, check out some of the pop-up markets, and go to a Christmas concert. Should we have ample time, I’d drive to the countryside and go horseback riding in the snow, relax in the natural geothermal hot springs with warm Stroh (strong rum in hot chocolate) while gazing at the Northern Lights.”
 

Best place for a cozy Christmas drink?
“I love the gingerbread-flavoured café latte at the Te & Kaffi franchise. But if you’d like something stronger, I recommend the Irish coffee or a hot chocolate with Stroh at the cosy Stofan café.”
 

What gets you into the Christmas spirit?
“It varies. Usually I get into the spirit when my sisters and I meet up with the kids on the Saturday before the first Sunday of Advent. We make our own Christmas decorations, bake cookies, drink hot chocolate, and listen to cheesy old Christmas songs. This year, however, I got the feeling of Christmas earlier. My fiancé and I were taking an evening walk with our dog and had picked up a coffee to go when I was suddenly overwhelmed with this sense of excitement. Maybe it was the cold but still weather, the beautiful Christmas lights or a mix of both, but it was a surprisingly nice feeling.”
 

 “Should we have ample time, I’d drive to the countryside and go horseback riding in the snow, relax in the natural geothermal hot springs with warm Stroh (strong rum in hot chocolate) while gazing at the Northern Lights.”

Describe your Christmas plans this year:
“I’m a woman who loves traditions but is not stuck on them. I enjoy going with the flow. This year I’ll have some days off during Christmas, something I’m not used to, but really looking forward to. I intend to take things slow and just enjoy meeting friends and family, go shopping, decorating, baking, watching old Christmas movies, and resting up.”
 

What is your favourite Christmas tradition?
“It’s difficult to pick only one, but I love decorating the Christmas tree on St. Þorláks Day Eve (December 23), after having walked around town, bumping into friends and acquaintances while I make my way around town to buy the last Christmas gift (I always save one gift for that evening). Other traditions I love are eating smoked leg of lamb, Nóa confectionaries, mixing Malt and Appelsín (a traditional Icelandic Christmas drink), the smell of oranges and cinnamon, and all the candles that light up the dark winter months and help us Icelanders survive the dark, cold winters.”
 

What will you have for Christmas dinner?
“We always have my mother’s lovely wild goose served with caramelised potatoes, fruit salad, pickled red cabbage, warm vegetables, and her amazing wild mushroom and red wine sauce. Last year my parents weren’t home for Christmas, so I did all of the cooking by myself for the very first time. It went so well that we decided to do the same this year and just stay at our house and take all the time in the world to cook, eat, drink, and enjoy Christmas Eve without having to leave the house.”
 

Do you and your family follow the tradition of leaving a gift in each other’s shoe?
“My fiancé and I always get a present from the thirteenth and last Yule Lad, Candle Beggar, so the answer is yes.” 

Related content

Editor's Picks