Iceland – Day Four – Christmas Eve & Northern Lights

Christmas Eve!
Christmas Eve Lunch in Reykjavik – note the Christmas lights in window!

We woke up to the excitement of Christmas Eve bubbling in Reykjavik. Many families and people out and about in town celebrating, shopping and preparing for Christmas morning. We packed up our Airbnb, loaded up our vehicle, parked it on street and went and joined in the festivities! We had an awesome noodle lunch and then were on our way to another home we rented as an Airbnb in the middle of nowhere with all glass windows facing the North. While being outdoors to witness Northern Lights would be an awesome experience, watching them for hours in comfort of house was uber nice!

We would be staying here for four days. The drive was easy and the home was perfect! It was a two storied home with bedrooms for everyone, artistically decorated, yet cozy at the same time.

FUN FACT: most homes heat their water through ground fed hot springs. Our entire home’s water system was heated this way! The hot tub was drained after each use and fresh hot water from underground was used to fill – no heater needed. We took a look at that series of pipes and equipment in their crawl space to admire the engineering.

This was our family’s first time postponing our traditional Christmas traditions and experiencing something new. No Christmas tree, no presents (other than oranges that would arrive in stockings from the supermarket), extended family gatherings or gift giving. This year would be simple. Just the five of us. Christmas Eve dinner by candlelight gathered around a coffee table in hopes, like a child in bed anticipating the arrival of Santa Claus, for perhaps an appearance by the Northern Lights.

FUN FACT: Even in the middle of nowhere you could see either advent candles or the big white paper stars illuminated in windows and/or candles flickering in homes in the distance. You felt a separated yet connected cozy connection.

While waiting for darkness to completely fall, we enjoyed an evening of snacks, reading books (Icelandic tradition!) and card games. We had downloaded an app that gives Northern Light reports and updates and according to the app, there was a higher than usual chance the lights would come together tonight and we were so excited! Quinn and I poured a glass of wine and laid on the floor with our kids and waited…

…and then…

The white haze started to form on the horizon, and had we not had an in-service from our tour guide the night before we may have dismissed as cloud cover not realizing it was the beginning of a possible Northern Lights display! As they began to lift from horizon and take form “child-like wonder and delight” do not even come close to what we witnessed! Luckily, Quinn and forethought to set his phone behind us and just hit record to capture some of our family’s responses. I think they convey the magic displayed far better than the photos! Take a listen!!

Our family’s responses to see the Northern lights secretly captured by Quinn!

We found it challenging to capture and size of the lights on our phones but below are the best ones we collected between the five of us. If you have ever tried to snap a picture of a dazzling moon, it is a similar challenge photographically speaking. If you look closely you can even see the stars through the lights – in the bottom right image do you see the big dipper?

ROCKONLIVING TIP: If you plan on trying to capture the Northern Lights, take some time to learn your camera, phone or device before you arrival, you will be happy you did so!

We were changed forever by this experience – moments that remind of us and give us time to pause/reflect on the mystery of life. We finished the night off with a candlelight dinner and then all went to bed for a Christmas Eve slumber. I am not going to lie, I woke up several times that night and quietly walked upstairs to sit by windows in hopes of catching a few more sacred moments with the lights. Aside from still seeing some homes flickering candles in windows, it was dark and quiet and all was good.

Until tomorrow, Rock on LIVING, friends! xxoo

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