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An Icelandic Christmas Eve Tradition: Jolabokaflod

Updated: Apr 3, 2021

Iceland Diamond Beach

I always felt like I belonged in Iceland, and then I learned about their Christmas Eve tradition, and it was confirmed. These are my people. Literary nerds unite!

Jolabokaflod, translated to “the Christmas book flood” is an Icelandic tradition of snuggling up with a good book on Christmas Eve. Moreso, you give a book to someone you love, curl up with some hot chocolate or jolabland (a non-alcoholic holiday ale… hence the word bland… just kidding).

The tradition dates back to World War II. While other gifts were in short supply, Icelanders made the best of their situation and exchanged books, as paper products were one of the few good in abundance during the time.

And literature lovers all over the world are embracing the tradition, including myself! I personally plan on finishing up the current book I’m reading after we spend the evening with Anthony’s family. A much needed moment of relaxation amidst the crazy past few weeks gearing up for the holidays.

So, what do you think? Have you heard of Jolabokaflod before? Is this a tradition you’d like to adopt? Or what other holiday traditions do you have?

Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear more!




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