2022 Countdown to Christmas #1: Jolabokaflod, an Icelandic Christmas-y Excuse to Read Books All Day

Wow, am I ever excited to hear about this! So yesterday I blogged that I was still basking in the glow of Thanksgiving. Well, I’m done with that. I needed to feel some Christmas cheer this morning as I drove away from seeing my dying mother-in-law, possibly for the last time. As I drove through the gray, dull city, I listened to this new Christmas podcast by Sarah Mackenzie. As I listened, I found about this amazing tradition that combines Christmas with books! This is just what this bibliophile, fan of chocolate, and Christmas-loving me wanted to hear! Go listen to the podcast here and then you’ll love the idea too! You can go to this page that has both the audio file and the transcript.

The basic idea is to set a time during the Christmas season where you read books, and eat chocolate or sip hot cocoa, or enjoy some other treat. Umm, yes! It’s called “Jolabokaflod” which literally means, in Icelandic, “Yule Book Flood” or “Christmas Book Flood.” It comes from Iceland during post WWII days. Paper was rationed in Iceland, so people waited until Christmas Eve to give books to each other, then stayed up all night reading them. (They must not have had many children to be exhausted after playing Santa.)

I’m totally doing this as many times as I can this Christmas season, just not on Christmas Eve! My mind is racing with the possibilities! I love Sarah’s idea to do it at a time other than Christmas Eve. Like Sarah, I already have traditions that fill up that Holy Night of All Nights. So, yeah, I’m thinking of doing this on St. Nicholas Day, and the night before New Year’s Eve (since I already have New Year’s Eve traditions), on the Feast of Epiphany Day (Jan. 6), AND on a night with just other book-loving mamas without any kids. Any excuse to gather, read, eat treats, and connect, right?

In the podcast, two moms share how they do this unique tradition. Sarah shares that one mom “gets Trader Joe’s variety pack of hot chocolate, and she lights a bunch of candles. She buys a used book for each of her kids, like a special book for each of them. And then on this night when she’s got the variety hot chocolate pack and the candles, she lays out all the books in the living room. And when the kids come out from the hall, there is a flood of books in the living room. And they sit together, and read for the evening, sampling all the different hot chocolate flavors.”

It sounds so magical doesn’t it? I only wish I had known about this when all my kids were home. The good news though is that it’s never too late to create connecting traditions and thanks to technology maybe we could have a Zoom Jolabokaflod with my older children out of the nest!

I don’t think you have to just read Christmas books for it to be authentic Jolabokaflod, but I’m going to do it that way for at least one of the times I do it. I’ll use the Christmas picture books below plus more!

Merry Jolabokaflod everyone!

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1 Response to 2022 Countdown to Christmas #1: Jolabokaflod, an Icelandic Christmas-y Excuse to Read Books All Day

  1. Pingback: A Joyful Reunion | Tree of Life Mothering

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