December in Iceland is a special time. The country’s position on the edge of the Arctic Circle makes for short winter days, cloaking the island in, what feels like, perpetual darkness. During the holiday season, however, the dark days are illuminated by sparkling Christmas lights, and often you can find the dancing Northern Lights brightening the night sky.

Iceland also upholds some special, if not unusual, holiday traditions which include dealing with food-stealing pranksters, evading being eaten by a cat, and setting the sky ablaze with fireworks.

A trip to Iceland in December allows visitors not only to get to know these strange customs but also to experience the best of this land of ice and fire in the winter.

So if you are looking for a perfect Christmas gift for a loved one or about to spend your holidays in Iceland, you should take a look at this list of 5 tours that are bound to get the meanest of Grinches into the holiday spirit.

Northern Lights Hunt | Superjeep Tour

This December, travel into the darkened countryside in search of the elusive but stunning Northern Lights with this fantastic Super Jeep tour.

The large, custom, 4X4 vehicle ensures both a smooth and comfortable ride, as well as the promise of adventure off the beaten track. Away from the crowds, you can enjoy the serene and silent experience of being alone in the wild Icelandic nature.

Once the lights appear, they’ll come in the form of brightly coloured ribbons that move about in the night sky like dancers. The spectacular sight is on many people’s bucket list so make sure you don’t miss your chance to see the beautiful Northern Lights this December.

Winter Wonderland of the North | Christmas Tour from Akureyri

Those looking for a White Christmas in Iceland should cast their eyes towards the Northern town of Akureyri. Not only is the area experiencing the highest amount of snowfall since the 1960s, but the North is also home to some of Iceland’s more curious Christmas creatures.

This Winter Wonderland tour departs from Akureyri and takes you out to the otherworldly Mývatn region with a stop at Goðafoss waterfall on the way.

You’ll explore Dimmuborgir, said to be the home of the Yule Lads, 13 strange pranksters that visit Icelandic homes on the days leading up to Christmas. Be careful; however, Dimmuborgir is also supposed to be home to their troll mother, Grýla, who eats naughty children!

If you survive Grýla, you’ll move on to Námaskarð geothermal area and Grjótagjá cave before unwinding in the Mývatn Nature Baths, the North’s answer to the Blue Lagoon.

Before heading back to Akureyri, you’ll stop by at the Christmas House, a charming red cottage which looks like it was plucked straight out of a fantasy book. Here, you can soak in some Yuletide spirit and perhaps even pick up some festive souvenirs.

Night of Enchantment | Christmas & New Years Adventure

If you are looking for an authentic Icelandic Christmas, then look no further than this Night of Enchantment tour where you can experience a traditional holiday in the home of a local family.

You’ll be transported from Reykjavík to the charming village of Eyrarbakki on the South Coast where you’ll meet a local couple who are ready to receive you at their home.

The night will then be filled with delicious traditional food, music, and stories. You’ll learn about the Yule Lads and their mother and how New Year’s is considered to be a festival of elves.

This tour is sure to get you in the spirit of the season.

New Year’s Eve Cruise | Celebration at Sea

Every New Year’s Eve, the Icelandic people light up the sky with millions of brightly coloured fireworks. Though there are many places to witness this spectacle, one of the best spots to do this is, without a doubt, at sea.

This New Year’s Eve Cruise will take you out into Faxaflói Bay from the Reykjavík Harbour. With a complimentary drink in your hand, you can watch as the sky above Harpa Concert Hall, Hallgrímskirkja Church and the Sun Voyager sculpture turn red, blue, green, and yellow with fireworks.  

Party hats and trumpets are included to enhance the merriment, and once the boat docks shortly after midnight, you’ll be smack in the middle of downtown Reykjavík where you can keep on celebrating inside the city’s bustling bars and clubs.

3 Day Golden Circle & South Coast Tour | Northern Lights, Ice Cave & Glacier Hiking

Those visiting Iceland in December should not miss this 3 Day Golden Circle and South Coast tour which promises the ultimate Icelandic experience.

Spend your Christmas watching Gullfoss waterfall cascade down an ancient canyon, geysers erupt at Geysir geothermal area, the ocean pound upon the shores of Reynisfjara black sand beach, and icebergs float on the serene water at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.

Not only will travellers see these popular sites as they are blanketed in powdery snow, but they’ll also get the chance to hike up a glacier to enjoy spectacular views of the South Coast, as well as enter an authentic ice cave in Vatnajökull glacier.