I first came across the term Jólabókaflóð (Jolabokaflod) on Instagram. It means “Yule book flood” and is a Holiday tradition in Iceland (you brilliant Icelanders) and it refers to the Christmas Eve tradition of gifting a book and chocolate to friends and family. The evening (after dinner and gifts) is then spent reading your new treasure and enjoying your treat.
I need this tradition in my life!!
Does anything sound more dreamy than Jólabókaflóð? (yo-la-bok-a-flot); not the pronunciation but the idea of snuggling in with your family on a cold Christmas Eve with a hot drink, yummy treat and a book to cuddle with.
Jólabókaflóð (Jolabokaflod) began in Iceland during World War II when sanctions and restrictions limited the gift options available to Icelanders. Paper products (which became books) were easier to access and provided entertainment, escape and a welcome treat and became the gift of choice which has persisted for the last 70+ years.
Did you know that Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country in the world, with the majority being released in the final quarter of the year in preparation for Jólabókaflóð. Iceland also ranks third in the world for literacy – to put that into perspective the U.S. ranks 7th in the world, Canada 11th and England 17th in terms of literacy.
Every Icelander receives a catalogue “Journal of books/ Book News” (Bókatíðindi) in the mail which showcases the (hundreds of) books released that year.
This is 2017’s and while I can’t read Icelandic, I can tell you that there are roughly 760 new release books showcased.
Icelanders open Holiday gifts on Christmas Eve leaving Christmas Day open for preparing a grand Holiday meal. One of the gifts received by just about everyone will be a book and a treat – to be read and consumed later that evening.
Imagine: you’ve wrapped your gifts, prepared Christmas Eve dinner, cleaned the dishes, fed the pets, prepared the guest room, chatted and enjoyed family and company, opened gifts (if you have that as a Christmas Eve tradition) etc. It’s late and all you want to do is snuggle in for some peace and quiet….
wouldn’t a new book and a hot cocoa or delectable chocolate treat be just the icing on the cake?
Perhaps that’s the introvert in me – but that sounds absolutely heavenly!
I created this little label to attach to the Jólabókaflóð (Jolabokaflod) gifts I’m giving this year – you are welcome to use it as well:
The only thing that could possibly top this as a gift and tradition would be if someone sweet and thoughtful bought you those ridiculously expensive reading socks you’ve been coveting for years but were too cheap to buy for yourself.
Whether you give, receive or just dream of Jólabókaflóð (Jolabokaflod) – take some time for yourself this Holiday and enjoy the blessings of the Season.
Have a great one!