I am happy to report that we got our lovely little faux Christmas tree up a few days after Thanksgiving. If it was up to me, I’d leave it up all year, but I’ll settle for the end of January. We haven’t gotten around to putting up any outside decorations…maybe next year. I’ve heard IKEA is a madhouse the few weeks before the holiday, so we’ve been avoiding it.

We have done a few other things though. A and I participated in the embassy tree cutting a couple weeks ago. I thought there would be a bunch of families, so we took A out of school for the occasion. Turned out there were only about half a dozen people, including the Ambassador, but no other kids.

But A did really well. It was about an hour’s ride on a bus out to the tree farm tucked back at the end of a fjord called Hvalfjörður and run by the Icelandic Forest Service. I assumed it would be nice and flat for some reason. But the trees ran up the side of a mountain buried in about two feet of snow. A was off like a shot, apparently it’s easier to stay on the surface when you only weigh 45 pounds, while I panted and trudged up the hill behind him.

It was dark when we first arrived, but the sun came up around 11am with a gorgeous purple sky above the mountains. We already had the aforementioned fake tree at home, so we helped cut down the one for the embassy Christmas party. And the Forest Service rep cut down a tiny one for my son, which was super sweet.

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Still dark at 10am.

Sunrise at 11am.

Sunrise at 11am.

Forest Service sign.

Icelandic Forest Service sign.

View of the fjord on the way home.

View of the fjord on the way home.

Then we headed back to the embassy for the employee Christmas party in the afternoon. There were some potluck snacks and lots of kids’ activities like ornament making and cookie decorating, and we helped decorate the tree we’d cut down that morning.

Then we had a visit from Santa, and some of the kids danced with him around the Christmas tree, which is an Icelandic tradition. Most of the American kids watched for a few minutes and then ran off. There were also various arguments among the children about whether or not it was Santa visiting or one of the 13 Icelandic Yule Lads.

A has already had a couple older kids tell him that Santa doesn’t exist, and he’s quizzed me on whether or not I believe in him. So we’ll see how much longer the magic lasts.

A helping decorate the embassy Christmas tree.

A helping decorate the embassy Christmas tree.

A traditional Icelandic candelabra.

A traditional Icelandic candelabra.

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