My wife sent me a text yesterday with a link in it – a thing she only does when she is really excited about something new she has discovered. She’s a bit of a luddite, one of the reasons I love her so much, and so I knew that whatever it was she was wanting me to read online, was going to be interesting.  

Jólabókaflóðið.  She sent me an article about Jólabókaflóðið.

It seems that Jólabókaflóðið (pronounced YO-la-bok-a-flothe) is an Icelandic word meaning something akin to ‘the Christmas book flood.’  It’s a tradition in Iceland that goes back to the days right after the second world war when, because of depression and war era challenges and economic trade restrictions, the one plentiful resource that could be found in Iceland was paper. And because books are made of paper, books quickly became a gift of choice during the holidays. The Icelandic publishing industry began to release all new books in November, a tradition that continues to this day. The yearly publication of a nation wide book catalog, Bókatíðindi, helps everyone there know what’s coming out.  

This seems to have led to a nation of bibliophiles where a good book is the gift of choice and the greatest Christmas pastime is laying in bed, drinking hot chocolate and reading a good book all day long. 

So this year, if yours is a household or readers, what if you chose one day in which all family members agreed to brew a giant caldron of hot chocolate, load up on healthy snacks and spend the entire day reading.  

Find a way to celebrate Jólabókaflóðið together.

You can listen to how Jólabókaflóðið is pronounced at Google Translate.  And you can read a few articles about this amazing Icelandic tradition here, here or here.

And if you need a good book suggestion, check out our family’s top ten lists for youth fiction at Boo Radley Book Reviews.

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