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Christmas
Iceland

Christmas 2020, 2021 and 2022 in Iceland

Christmas in Iceland is celebrated with a public holiday every 25 December, as it is in a majority of countries around the world. However, unlike most other parts of the world, Icelanders also get an official holiday on Christmas Eve, too.

YearDateDayHoliday
202024 DecThuChristmas Eve
25 DecFriChristmas Day
202124 DecFriChristmas Eve
25 DecSatChristmas Day
202224 DecSatChristmas Eve
25 DecSunChristmas Day
202324 DecSunChristmas Eve
25 DecMonChristmas Day
202424 DecTueChristmas Eve
25 DecWedChristmas Day
Please scroll down to end of page for previous years' dates.

This Christian festivity commemorates the birth of Jesus, and is part of a 22-28 day season in the Christian calendar known as Advent.

Here it is called “Jol” or “Yule”, which word is related to the English term “Yuletide”. The big difference is that Yule includes New Year’s celebrations along with Christmas.

On 23 December, people in Iceland eat a meal with skate as the main dish to celebrate Saint Thorlakur’s Day. They also rush out to finish up their last-minute Christmas shopping!

On 24 December, kids are allowed to open their gifts after dinner starting at 6pm. This is because a new day used to be counted as starting at 6pm instead of 12 midnight in the olden days in Iceland. On 25 December, it is traditional to eat a leg of roasted lamb or a ptarmigan bird. “Leaf bread”, a thinly layered, deep-fried pastry, is also enjoyed.

On the Day after Christmas, Boxing Day, people visit relatives, feast some more, and spend time out on the town dancing.

Previous Years

YearDateDayHoliday
201924 DecTueChristmas Eve
25 DecWedChristmas Day
201824 DecMonChristmas Eve
25 DecTueChristmas Day
201724 DecSunChristmas Eve
25 DecMonChristmas Day