The Christmas Book Flood | An Icelandic Tradition


We all have our Christmas traditions. Whether it’s a cookout on the beach in Australia, the making of your own advent calendar in Switzerland or the long, drawn out process of baking the perfect Christmas pudding in the UK.
When it comes to Christmas traditions, Nordic countries are noticeably renown for their wonderfully unique and heart warming customs. 
Although these festive traditions are very similar across Scandinavia, each country celebrates Christmas with their own special differences. 
woman opening a gift box
One tradition that they all share is the opening of gifts on Christmas Eve. 
A custom that’s a likely result of their Viking origin, as it was the Vikings belief that the beginning of a new day, starts with the setting of the sun on the day before. 
With this in mind, Iceland have a truly special Christmas Eve tradition, one that I am definitely going to implement in my Christmas this year. 
This tradition is known as The Christmas Book flood or Jólabókaflóðið in Icelandic (Pronounced: Yola-boka-flod)
The Christmas Book flood is a wonderfully heart warming tradition, where in a book is gifted on Christmas Eve. 
Following the opening of presents, Christmas Eve will be spent in cosy contentment, surrounded by plentiful delicious treats, with everyone reading their newly gifted books. 
woman reading a book on a moose blanket
This perfectly lovely custom began during World War 2, when paper was one of the very few things not rationed at the time. As a result it became a customary gift to receive at Christmas, and the tradition has since become a deeply rooted essence of Icelandic culture.
It is this unique tradition that has ensured the safe survival of the Icelandic language, for now and many many years to come. 
This practice of giving books at Christmas is so significant that each household will receive a ‘book catalogue’ in the month of November, featuring all the new publications and book recommendations for the coming Christmas.  
cosy flat lay of a book, teapot and tray of biscuits on a blanket
I for one can’t think of a more Idyllic way to spend Christmas Eve than in the presence of loved ones, cosied up with a brand new book, a mug of hot chocolate and a mountain of freshly baked cookies - what a wonderful way to enjoy and appreciate the simple things in life.
 For me this picture is the epitome of ‘Hygge’. 
lit candle by the fire

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