The holidays are fast approaching and, as cliche as it is, will be here before you know it…or at least before you’re ready for their arrival. Rather than rushing around at the last minute trying to find gifts for your well-traveled or international friends, get an early start. If you’re searching for the perfect present for a friend who loves Iceland, who is going to visit Iceland, or who is of Icelandic descent, look no further. Here’s a handy list of holiday gifts that any Iceland lover would be thrilled to receive.
Anyone planning a trip to Iceland will undoubtedly appreciate a guidebook to the country. Go with the popular Lonely Planet guide, or my personal favorite, the Rough Guide to Iceland. Hipster types might appreciate the Wallpaper Guide to Reykjavik. And don’t forget an Icelandic phrasebook. While most everyone in Iceland speaks English and learning the language isn’t required for a first-time visitor, those with plans to return may want to learn a few key phrases.
I love to read the literature of a country before visiting. I find that stories set in a particular place, while fiction, can still help me gain a better understanding of the culture of that country. For the traveling readers in your life, consider a collection of some of Iceland’s most famous stories – the sagas. Pick up something from Iceland’s acclaimed mystery writer Arnaldur Indridason or from beloved Nobel Laureate Halldór Laxness.
Coffee table books
If the person for whom you’re shopping has already been to Iceland, remind them of their great trip with a coffee-table-worthy book filled with gorgeous photos of Iceland. One of my favorites is Lost in Iceland, though the predictably titled Iceland is also lovely.
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Equestrians fascinated by the Iceland horse will love A Good Horse Has No Color: Searching Iceland for the Perfect Horse and amateur chefs will be pleased with Icelandic Food and Cookery, a collection of over 165 traditional and contemporary recipes.
Music and TV
For the Icelandic music fans in your life, you could go with the more obvious choices of Sigur Ros, Jonsi, and Björk, or surprise them with newcomers For a Minor Reflection or Italian/Icelandic beauty Emiliana Torrini. For die-hard Sigur Ros fans, you can’t do better than Heima, a music DVD that chronicles a series of concerts the band performed around Iceland. And if your friend or family member loves Anthony Bourdain and Iceland, they’ll adore the special-edition DVD of the Iceland No Reservations episode.
While Iceland doesn’t get as cold as the name implies, it still does get mighty cold, snowy, rainy, wet and windy at times. 66° North claims it’s been “keeping Iceland warm since 1926” and from the items I’ve tried on at the stores in Reykjavik, I believe it. 66° North gear isn’t just incredibly warm, it’s also really stylish. I love the women’s Langjokull jacket, which also comes in a men’s version.
Any finally, what any Iceland fan would love most of all: a plane ticket to Iceland of course.