top of page

What is jolabokaflod (jólabókaflóð) and how will you celebrate it?

Give yourself a break after 2020’s craziness and celebrate jólabókaflóð your way

I’ve followed Iceland’s jólabókaflóð (Christmas book flood) for a few years now, but never actioned it yet. It’s normal for my close relatives and me to buy each other books as gifts, but actually making a specific event of it, like the jólabókaflóð, was something I really wanted to try. So, this year, I’m pleased to say partner-san and I will be celebrating the Christmas book flood in true style! By buying each other books and relaxing with them over Christmas, of course.

If you’re just as into books as me, you’re going to love this.

What is jolabokaflod (jólabókaflóð) and how will you celebrate it?

What is jólabókaflóð? And the history of Iceland’s Christmas Book Flood.

Starting in World War II because paper was one of the few cheap things in Iceland and restrictions on imports were hard. So people started to give each other books as gifts each year. (Read more about this here and here!) This stuck, becoming a tradition that helped make Icelanders some of the biggest bookworms around! (My kind of people!)

And, as the publishing industry wasn’t large enough in Iceland to support year-round publishing, publishing houses would make sure to meet this gift-buying nation with new books at just the right time: they’d make sure they published the books at Christmas time, sending out catalogues in Autumn to prepare for the Christmas period.

It’s the perfect way to celebrate for book lovers. Even now, each year, people buy each other books and give them to one another on the Christmas eve, then snuggle up somewhere warm with their favourite drink and read their books that night.

Jólabókaflóð 2020

2020 has been a bit of a crazy year, so having something cosy to settle down and end the year on a high note is just what (I think) most of us have ordered! More of us have read this year with the time we’ve been given and refound our love of cuddling up with a book. So, Jolabokaflod and 2020? Perfect match. Who doesn’t need more excuses to read more books?

What is jolabokaflod (jólabókaflóð) and how will you celebrate it?
Where will you read this jólabókaflóð?

How we’ll celebrate jólabókaflóð

Partner-san and I are both fairly specific about our books. But then, who isn’t? So, to make sure we match each other with the book we’re most interested in, we had a fun book-shopping date on the 22nd December and looked for the book that most caught our eye at the time. Then, we bought it for each other. Easy gift-giving. Funnily enough, we both bought something non-fiction and personal development, so we’ll be ending the year with more personal growth (ready, 2021?).

I can’t wait to just sit back and relax with our books this evening when I get home from work. We don’t really celebrate Christmas, so this book-gift-giving and quiet reading time is something a little extra I can happily get behind.

How will you celebrate jólabókaflóð?

Wherever you are in the world, you can celebrate jólabókaflóð your way. I think it’s the perfect Christmas and end of year wind down. If you’re somewhere cold, grab a blanket and a hot chocolate and curl up on the couch with some of your favourite music on. If you’re somewhere hot, like I am right now, then pull up a chair outdoors, put up your feet, and relax in the fresh air to the sound of birds (or squawking Cockatoos in my case, and I totally think they sound like Pterodactyls!). Whatever book you’ve been wanting to read, or if you’ve received a special book as a gift, just make some time for you and read in style: celebrate jólabókaflóð your way.

What is jolabokaflod (jólabókaflóð) and how will you celebrate it?
Where will you read this jólabókaflóð?

Happy reading!

25 views0 comments


bottom of page