Borrowing a Page from Jólabókaflóð

One of my favourite gifts to give (and to receive) are books. Nothing beats a great book especially in this day and age of constant interruptions from the digital world.

It’s so wonderful to silence all the pings, notifications, and blinking lights and lose yourself in another world. One of my most favourite Christmas traditions originates in Iceland. Icelandic people have a tradition called Jólabókaflóð which translates to The Yule Book Flood.

They exchange books on Christmas Eve and spend the night reading them and eating chocolate. Not a bad tradition, we say. It began during World War II when imports were restricted however paper was affordable. Since the country’s population was not large enough to support a year-round publishing industry, the Icelandic Publishers Association announced new titles during the last few weeks of the year.

These days the holiday season kicks off with a book catalog of every new book published in Iceland that is delivered to people’s homes. If it’s anything like how exciting the arrival of the annual Sears Christmas catalog was in our childhood, it’s no wonder so many Icelandic people read so much.

My favourite way to devour a book comes with a little setting prep. As mentioned, I turn off all the alerts on the phone and computer, light an Echo eco-soy candle so the relaxing scent of lavender, rosemary, and vanilla fill the room, and curl up in a comfy chair. Happy holidays indeed.