Feeling Festive (ÁA)


asta02_dlEvery year, there are certain things that evoke the Christmas spirit. The taste of ginger bread cookies... the scent of spruce, apples and mandarin oranges... The colorful lights that shine in every window, lighting up the city during its darkest hours…

And then there’s the music.

Take a moment and try to imagine Christmas without music.

Impossible, right?

I’m sure that all of us who celebrate this holiday have our favorite music, which we simply must listen to in order to get into the holiday spirit.

Often this is something we listened to in our childhood homes, when we were the most open to the wonders of the season.

My favorite is an Icelandic Christmas album called Í hátíðarskapi, which could be translated as ‘Feeling Festive.’


It was released in 1980, when I was four years old. And every year since then, it has been the soundtrack to my family Christmas.

I suppose it is that way for many an Icelander born in the late 1970s.

The album is an assortment of songs catering to the entire family—like a lovely box of chocolate. It has humor and heart, romance and charm, and plenty of solemnity.

It includes tracks by superhot disco duo Þú og ég, synthesizer violins and all.

It also has a couple of children’s songs featuring Iceland’s legendary media man, entertainer and environmentalist Ómar Ragnarsson as Gáttaþefur, one of the thirteen Yule Lads, accompanied by a children’s choir.

Everything is tied into a neat Christmas bow with a solemn instrumental opus closing the album.

Interestingly, Í hátíðarskapi is quite the modern album compared to Christmas albums in general. Its songs, which dance on the line between 70s disco and 80s pop, mostly deal with modern city life instead of age-old folklore.

Some of them could even be pop songs in their own right—there’s not that much Christmas flavor to them come to think of it.

Recently, my husband found a copy of this cult album in Iceland’s leading vinyl record store Lucky Records. So this Christmas, we will be playing it at home for our little girl, who at fifteen months is discovering Christmas for the first time, thereby allowing her parents to see it in a whole new—and glorious—light.

Happy Holidays!

Ásta Andrésdóttir - asta@icelandreview.com

Views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Iceland Review.