Jolabokaflod - what's your Christmas tradition?

Season's greetings to you all,

Ever thought of trying something a little different for Christmas?

Well, my family does every year. You see, some time ago we came across this fabulous book about Christmas traditions across the globe, and we thought how fun it would be if every year we chose one of those traditions and tried it out. Some traditions stick, so that we do them year after year (I've noticed there seem to be a lot involving shoes) and some don't. The children particularly like the ones involving sweets, of course...

But this year I'm particularly excited.

Why? Because this year it's jolabokaflod!

For those of you who've never heard of this Icelandic Christmas tradition, jolabokaflod roughly translates as "the Christmas Book Flood", and it has a rather lovely story behind it. The tradition dates back to the second World War, when gifts were in short supply. So the Icelandic people decided instead to share with each other their love of books by wrapping and giving a book on Christmas Eve. Friends and family then all spend the evening reading their books and (perhaps the best bit) eating chocolate or drinking cocoa together.

Of course, the Icelandic book trade caught onto this idea pretty quickly and, in fact, every year since 1944 they publish a catalogue called The Book Bulletin that is sent to every household in the country that people can use to order books to give friends and family for Christmas.

But that's not what it is about for me. For me, the idea of sharing a love of books together with family and friends in such a special and intimate setting is special in a way I can't describe. And, as anyone who shares my bookish tendencies might well imagine, I absolutely can't wait for this one.

Are we ready for jolabokaflod? Absolutely! Each member of my little family has now chosen one book to give to another (so we each have one book to read on the night), and the children have even made their own wrapping paper to wrap their gifts in. I have a sneaking suspicion this is one Christmas tradition that will stick!

What are your seasonal traditions? Whatever they are, may I wish you a very happy holidays and I look forward to being in touch again in the new year.

With all best wishes,

Emma Warner-Reed

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