Monday, December 14, 2015

December 2015 Newsletter

The December 2015 newsletter is found here. The plain text version is below. To sign upfor the newsletter, please fill out this form.

** Farsælda Frón
Volume 17, Issue 2
December 2015

** From the President's desk

What a year we had.

You may be thinking, 'well it’s not over', but for The Icelandic Association of Chicago it is in terms of activities in 2015. We started out with a sold out Þorrablót, the biggest and best in many years, back at our old location at the Swedish American Museum. Everything was excellent, the food, entertainment, and the company of good people. This was the first time we invited a chef from Iceland who happened to be my brother Gauji who I hope you all had a chance to meet. We also had a record attendance to our Independence Day celebration at Promontory Point by the Lake just off South Shore Drive. We imported Icelandic hot dogs as before and everyone had a great time. We took part in Leif Erikson day, Scandinavian Day, and at the end of the summer it was the 10^th Greater Chicago Icelandic Open and the 2015 champions are Paul Henley and Martin Devaney. Our last event of the year was putting up the Icelandic Christmas Tree at the Museum of Science and Industry followed by the Annual Open General Meeting at Snail Thai Cuisine. Once again, we had a record attendance and a very good time.

In between all of these activities we had several smaller gatherings and board meetings.

All in all this was a great year thanks to our members who worked hard and unselfishly, a list too long to thank everyone individually.
What does the future hold for us in 2016?
We take the tree down at the museum on the 10th of January at 1:30PM, everyone is invited. The Þorrablót is our highlight as all of you know and, like last time, it will be at the Swedish American Museum on Clark - the 19^th of March – Save the Date! We are again flying in Hemmi our musician, and a chef, Ari Hallgrímsson, who happens to be Lena‘s brother. Ari is a Master Chef and leads the culinary department of Verkmenntaskólinn Akureyri. This may turn out to be our biggest Þorrablót in the history of the organization as two groups of people from nearby states have requested access plus our ambassador Geir Haarde is likely to attend. Sales will open early in 2016. We plan to celebrate 17^th of June in style as years before and The 11^th Greater Chicago Icelandic Open will held Sunday August 28^th with the same format so Save The Date! I hope you will have a chance to participate in all or most of our events helping us make 2016 an even greater year than this one.

Merry Christmas – Gleðileg Jól.
Einar Steinsson
From the Editor

This December newsletter is packed with exciting information. First, it covers the decoration of the Icelandic Christmas tree at Christmas around the World. Then 2016 IAC events are presented including the always fantastic Thorrablot in March and Taking down the Christmas Tree at MSI in January. Several short articles are featured including an update on the status of IAC Scholarships, the announcement of direct Icelandair flights to O'Hare (Yes!), description of significant updates Marc Johnson made to our IAC website. Marc did a fantastic job and I encourage you to visit the website and give us feedback. I also encourage you to renew your membership online (or become a member if you are not already). The price has not gone up in years and is very reasonable ($10 Individual/Student and $20 Family).
In this newsletter you will also find an article by IAC member John H. Hofteig about the life of Joan Eyolfson Cadham, who was a prolific Canadian-Icelandic author and editor of Logberg Heimskringlan and passed away earlier this year. We hope you enjoy this newsletter and as always, please feel free to contact me if you have articles or topics you would like to share or see covered.
Stay warm and Happy Holidays!
Kolla Kristjansdottir Fass

Christmas Around the World 2015

The IAC has an annual tradition of decorating an Icelandic Christmas Tree at the Museum of Science and Industry. This year this festive event occurred on Saturday November 8th. Thanks to all of you who helped at the tree tri mming. We are excited and extremely proud of our tree this year, which boasts some brand new ornaments and refurbished older ones. A big shout out to Guðrún Jónsson the new Chairperson of Christmas Tree Committee the master designer of the tree decorations and herself knitted the colorful Christmas balls. We hope you’ll find time this holiday season to visit Christmas Around the World and see for yourself. Save the Date: Thorrablot 2016 The 2016 Thorrablot will be held on March 19th at the Swedish museum! Read more about the details in the letter from the president above. Relive last years Thorrablot or if you did not attend, see the fantastic food and fun times that were had last year:


One if by Land, Two if by Sea, and Three if by Air: The Icelanders are coming! The Icelanders are coming!

Iconic, renowned American-colonial era silversmith, town crier, and American- Revolutionary War hero, Paul Revere [---He of “One if by land, two if by sea…”-fame---] sort of had it right, by 1776 standards, but were he to reappear in Chicago by the 16th of March, 2016, he would now have to light and hang three lanterns atop the John Hancock Center and the Willis Tower and replace his incomplete “warning” with the more complete Glad-Tidings: “The Icelanders are coming!” After a nearly thirty year absence from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport [then operating seasonally under the moniker: Loftleiðir], Icelandair has announced year-round, frequent, almost daily, non- stop service from ORD, beginning 16-March-2016.

Besides the wonderful convenience this will afford us here in the Chicago area, it will have three additional benefits for our Icelandic Association of Chicago [IAC] and our friends: First, as reported in this same issue of the Frón, we will receive our fresh Thorra Food early, just in time, for our earlier- than-usual Saturday, the 19th of March, 2016 Þorrablót; Second, we will be able to welcome Icelandic dignitaries and Icelandair crew celebrating this inaugural Icelandair service; and Third, at a later-date to be announced, we in the Chicago area will be able to enjoy a four-day-long mini trade-fair and festival, the Taste of Iceland, sponsored by IcelandNaturally ( ; the Icelandic-American Chamber of Commerce; and Iceland’s Trade Commissioner for North America, New York City-Consul General, Hlynur Guðjónsson [Update: Date set for Thursday to Sunday, the 17th-20th of March, 2016].

IcelandNaturally, the trade-group comprised of Icelandic and North American companies engaged in cross-border commerce, often stages these Tastes of Iceland in North American markets for which Icelandair has frequent year-round service and for which there is either an established or a potential market for Icelandic-North American commerce. Very recently, there was a Taste of Iceland in Seattle,WA and in Toronto, ON. Typically, these include bringing an Icelandic chef who collaborates with a local restaurant to have Icelandic-menu items available throughout the festival; representatives from several Iceland-related companies; free Icelandic musical offerings; and publicly-accessible programming highlighting relevant contemporary business, economic, and societal issues and trends in Iceland.

When Icelandair inaugurates new continuing, year-round service to a new market, if often affords opportunities for local Icelandic-American residents to collaborate with Icelandic companies looking for local talent to assist them in developing new business opportunities and enhancing established ventures. There may be ad-hoc, temporary, contract, or even permanent employment opportunities for Icelandic-American residents in the host city, almost everything “from A. to Z.,” including the obvious, e.g., English-Icelandic translation services. At our recent combined IAC AGM and open Board meeting, it was announced that the New York City-based Icelandic-American Chamber of Commerce often receives inquiries from companies entering a new market for available local professional resources. Interest was expressed in exploring some sort of mechanism for preparing a list of our IAC members and friends who might be interested in making their talents known to these companies and then placing these individuals in contact with Icelandic companies in a professional manner, respecting confidentiality and privacy. Once a specific date is announced for a Taste of Iceland in Chicago, our IAC Board will be exploring options in this regard. Please submit comments via email to either our IAC President and local Honorary Icelandic Vice-Consul, Einar Steinsson, or the undersigned. J.H.H. ( or (

New and Improved IAC Website

Our responsive site now built and maintained in the popular and powerful content management system (CMS) Drupal has arrived! Check it out at The previous versions of our site built in static html met the basic needs of the IAC over the years having been mostly informational with limited interactivity for membership signup, and a few forms to register and pay for events. Moving to a CMS allows us the potential to add more dynamism to the site and offer our members a more interactive experience. Right now the new site:
  • has a modern (2015ish) look and feel
  • is responsive to different screen sizes from phones to large monitors
  • has roughly the same content/functionality that it had before.
  • In the coming months, we will be enlisting the feedback of IAC members and the board to see what more our site could and should be doing. The possibilities are numerous and include such options as:
  • membership logins that give access to restricted "members only" content,
  • site hosted member-maintained blogs to contribute to the site's content,
  • member-maintained, publically facing members directory of services,
  • private polls and forums,
  • etc...
  • What of this we actually do will depend on YOU (the members and board). Stay tuned...

    IAC Scholarship Program 2015-2016 Update:

    At the most-recent 8-Nov-2015 Icelandic Association of Chicago [IAC] combined AGM and open Board Meeting, the following information regarding our IAC Scholarship Program and Academic Liaison was discussed. For the seventh consecutive year, we received a very generous allotment of IcelandicGlacialWater, donated by the vendor, for our annual beverage sales at Scandinavian Day [6-Sep-2015], at Vasa Park, South Elgin, IL, which with the help of many much-appreciated volunteers, we sold, along with assorted soda pop, for our Scholarship Fund, which now stands at approximately USD $ 4,000.00. We still have some additional cases of IcelandicGlacialWater [twenty-four one-half-liter bottles per case at USD $ 24.00] available for sale, all proceeds of which will go into our Scholarship Fund. It was agreed that we would allocate up to approximately half of these funds for current applications for the following scholarship assistance: Up to two awards, each, at up to USD $ 750.00 to support any bona fide, Icelandic-related study at any relevant American, Canadian, or Icelandic cultural or academic institution OR participation in either the traditional six-week “total-Icelandic-immersion” program for young adults or the two-week-long similar program for mature adults or retirees [], for enrollment in 2016 or 2017. And up to two awards, each, at up to USD $ 375.00 to support any bona fide Icelandic-language study program [preference given to younger applicants], for enrollment in 2016 or 2017. Application forms, including the current IAC Scholarship Program Guidelines, will be posted on our website: and will be circulated to known potential applicants. Review of all applications and announcements and presentations of awards will be completed in time for our next Þorrablót [19-Mar-2016]. In this same issue of the Frón, our webmaster, Marc Johnson, is reporting on pending improvements to our IAC website, which will afford additional opportunities to enhance our reporting on our Scholarship Program and its history. At our meeting, there was renewed interest in exploring options for applying for IRS-recognized Charitable Tax-Deductible status [e.g., 501(c)] for our Scholarship Fund, a designation which might also be relevant for other IAC activities to the extent that they are relevant to Icelandic-related cultural and educational outreach activities of our Association.The current committee members of our IAC Scholarship Program remain: Tryggvi Emilsson, Haukur Guðmundsson, Sonja Johnson, Joni Shaw, and the undersigned. Anyone interested in working on or with our Committee and/or assisting with our fund-raising, currently primarily at the annual Scandinavian Day, is encouraged to liase with the undersigned. Inquires, suggestions, and applications are always welcome, by email to: ( or the undersigned [ ( ].

    The 12 Gifts of Christmas and Other Stories by the Late Joan Eyjolfson Cadham
    Joan Eyolfson Cadham, a prolific Canadian-Icelandic author, reporter, editor, and long-time active member of the Icelandic National League of North America [], died on the 28^th of October, 2015, at the age of seventy-five-years-young, literally at her writingdesk in her home in Foam Lake, Saskatchewan, practicing her life-long craft to the end. During her final nearly six-year-long valiant struggle against idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, she remained remarkably active, travelling, driving, and most of all, writing. She was widely known to active INL of NA participants, readers of Western Icelandic literature, and subscribers to the Lögberg-Heimskringla [], where she had been its Editor [2010 – 2014], with a keen interest in covering all matters Western Icelandic throughout Canada and the United States. She recently finished her final opus, The 12 Gifts of Christmas and Other Stories, which her estate has just now released. The preceding general information came from obituary remembrances which have been widely circulated by the INL of NA and by Stefan Jonasson, the current Editor of the Winnipeg, MB-based Lögberg-Heimskringla, North America’s oldest and longest continuously-published Icelandic newspaper. LH’s current homepage still features some of this material. The following specific information [“bracketed by quotation marks”], excerpted from a press release written by Shirley Byers, a long-time colleague and friend from nearby Kelvington, SK, is used with kind permission. Audrey Shepherd, another long-time colleague and friend from nearby Wynyard, SK, mentioned in the final paragraph, often provided Joan with desktop publishing assistance and was actively involved in this book’s production. “Celebrating Christmas with Joan: Joan Eyolfson Cadham loved Christmas. Early in 2015 she began gathering together her many, many stories and columns on that season and organizing them into a book. The finished product, The 12 Gifts of Christmas and Other Stories, is a tangible expression of that love. Christmas cards, Christmas trees, Christmas music — where did they come from? Why do we celebrate on December 25th? Why does the gift-giver, a part of every Christian culture’s traditions, arrive at different times in different countries? And when was Jesus really born?

    Besides answering these and other questions while serving up a wealth of Christmas history, traditions and folklore, this book is about the author’s own Christmases on the family farm near Foam Lake, in the town of Foam Lake, in Toronto, Montreal, and Cold Lake with a young family, back in Foam Lake with her husband, Jack Cadham, and finally on her own, shored up by the reminiscences of a lifetime of Christmases. And gifts from her Secret Santa: Twelve exquisite works of art, mailed anonymously to Joan over twelve years, including a nativity, a herb dryer, a key safe and more — each one clearly designed especially for its recipient, (Note the blonde Joan-like braids on more than one illustration), each one building the suspense, growing the legend which eventually captured the attention of the entire town and became the title story for this book.

    The 12 Gifts of Christmas and Other Stories has dozens of pictures, including the twelve gifts. And, like the true journalist she was, Joan made sure that there was a chapter for the folks who don’t love Christmas, or who maybe don’t love it this year. A Ryerson-trained journalist, Joan was the author of three books, The Prairie Does Flourish [2011], Red Right Returning [1998], and Bent but Not Broken [1992], (co-authored with Dennis Dwyer and David Marcel Letourneau). She was the editor of two more books and contributing author to several more. She was the editor of Port Hole, the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron magazine, and The Lögberg-Heimskringla [2010 - 2014], bi-weekly covering Icelandic news for North Americans. She produced countless features, editorials and columns, including Prairie Snapshots, a weekly broadcast column for CBC Radio, Regina, SK.

    This book may be ordered through Audrey Shepherd [ ( ], as it's not yet in bookstores this year. Probably next year, as Joan died so suddenly and her son (executor) has many things to do before he gets it into bookstores and Amazon. The approximate cost is $ 23.00 (tax incl.), plus shipping and handling.”
    Please liaise directly with Audrey regarding the exact USD $ cost, including shipping options. Sounds like a great Christmas stocking-stuffer!

    -Upcoming Events-
    Taking down the Christmas Tree
    Sunday January 10th 1:30pm
    Museum of Science and Industry
    Everyone is welcome

    Save the date: Thorrablot
    Saturday March 19th at 6pm
    Swedish American Museum
    More details to follow.

    Save the date: Icelandic Open
    August 28th
    More details to follow.

    About the Icelandic Association
    The purpose of our association is to ensure that the legacy of the Icelandic heritage will be preserved through cultural events, social gatherings and educational opportunities. We always welcome new members and look forward to hearing from you. - More at: Forward to a Friend View our blog ( Visit on Facebook (


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