Iceland: A Photography Guide to the Ultimate Christmas Destination
Let’s talk Christmas. Okay, sure, we’ve been doing that a lot lately. Butin spite of Wizzard’s best efforts, it only comes around once a year, and we’ve got to make the most of it while the Christmas lights are still shining.
In this blog, we’re going to do something different. Rather than talk about Christmas 2023, we’re going to talk about Christmas 2024, and what you should be doing during it.
Everyone deserves a white Christmas at least once in their lives. It’s all very well taking photos of the tree or the frantic gift unwrapping, but it’s hard to make a Facebook photo book feel Christmassy if you’re in Mississippi and it’s blowing a gale outside.
That’s why we think it's the perfect time to take the family on a full-blown Christmas vacation. Where to, we hear you ask? Well, Iceland of course. The clue’s in the name. For Christmas lovers, Iceland is a winter wonderland that just keeps on giving. For photographers, it’s probably the most photogenic country in the world.
To explain more, you’ll find our photography guide to this destination below, explaining exactly why it should be a shoo-in for your 2024 Christmas celebrations.
Dashing Through the Snow
A few blogs ago, we talked about London as a winter wonderland destination, and while this is true, it can also be a bit hit-and-miss. You might go there thinking you’re in for the romantic, snowy experience, à la The Holiday – only to find it rains torrentially for your entire trip.
Not so in Iceland. In this country, you know exactly what you’re getting. Ice and snow. And the best way to take advantage of this? Taking a full-day tour on a snowmobile, of course! Throughout the country, there are multiple tour companies offering snowmobile tours of the glaciers, welcoming any group, no matter how small or large. In terms of family fun and some beautiful photo opportunities, you can’t get better than this.
Capturing the Northern Lights
If you’ve ever watched a Christmas movie set in the North Pole – of which there are a good few – then you’ve probably seen the aurora borealis a few times on your screen. In Iceland, however, you can see it in the flesh.
Come on! Think about how good those pictures will look when you upload them to our photo book maker. And think about how you can show them off to all your more judgemental family members: “Yes, Aunt Mildred, the turkey looks lovely and that snow spray really gives the tree an elegant edge. But what do you think of this pic of us standing beneath the Northern Lights on Christmas Eve?"
Visiting the 5-Meter-Tall Cat
There are many weird and wonderful things to like about Iceland, but one of our favorites has to be the “Yule Cat”. This is a part of Icelandic folklore that seems to have been created by someone who really wanted new clothes for Christmas.
According to the story, the Yule Cat is a huge and vicious feline that lurks around the snowy Icelandic countryside at Christmas, eating anyone who has not received any new clothes to wear. That’s why no one in Iceland gets upset after receiving socks for Christmas – it’s literally saving their lives! For those who want to catch a glimpse of this cat, in Reykjavik, there’s a huge statue which is lit in thousands of Christmas lights every year. This is a great destination for a fun – albeit slightly creepy – Christmas photograph!
Sending Letters to Santa
Also in Reykjavik is Santa’s Mailbox. This is a bright red mailbox into which children insert their letters to the jolly man in red, and it sits in the middle of one of the most festive places on the planet.
If you’re taking this vacation with kids, not only can you visit this place – taking pictures as they write and send their letters – but you can also use the opportunity to explore the town itself and get your Christmas shopping done. That's right, Iceland isn't all mountains and glaciers, which means you don't have to lug your gifts through the airport. At least, not the first time round!
Meeting the Real Santa
We should also mention that, after sending letters to Santa, you can then go and meet him! Near Reykjavik, there’s a hotel that hosts regular tours to see Santa in a secret countryside hideaway. Kids then have the chance to meet Santa in his grotto and even receive a few gifts.
Not only does this give you some more photo opportunities – come on, you’re literally visiting Santa! – but on the tour, you’ll be guided around several Golden Circle attractions, including gorgeous glaciers and fascinating ice caves. This makes for the perfect finishing touch to your Christmas vacation, and so long as you avoid the Yule Cat, it’ll be something the kids never forget.