Jólabókaflóðið ( "Yule Book Flood" )
Christmas book flood as a thing sounds like every bibliophile's dream. A special season just for the giving and receiving of books, be they old and well loved or brand new releases just waiting for the first page turn. Why don't we do that?! Wouldn't that be a brilliant way to help keep the 'real' book alive but also allow someone to discover a literary classic?
There is one country, however, that does just that; an annual celebration of literacy, the history of which is little-known. Iceland turns the festive season into country-wide literary festival, with bookstores hosting native authors who give readings from and promote their latest work.
But how did it begin?
WW2 saw harsh restrictions on imports, limiting gift-giving particularly around this time of year. From this the exchanging of books as gifts began and quickly grew into what now is recognised as Jólabókaflóðið. Since 1944, a yearly catalogue called Bókatíðindi (Book Bulletin) is published and sent to every household in the country. People use this catalogue to order all their books for the festive season ahead.
Each Christmas Eve, said books are exchanged and you spend the rest of the night reading and eating chocolate. How perfect does that sound?! Tucked up in a cosy place with a book or stack of books.
Thanks to social media, this tradition is slowly gaining interest. Perhaps one day this will be a seasonal, holiday tradition in many more countries. (We can dream!) If Jolabokaflod sounds like a tradition you'd like to adopt, we've created a collection of products over on our website for you to browse. You can take a look right here!