Sharing our Christmas Eve tradition: Jolabokaflod. Inspired by this cozy tradition from Iceland, we give books as presents on Christmas Eve while enjoying sweets and time together.
Two years ago, I learned about a tradition in Iceland that dates back to World War II.
Jolabokaflod : Christmas book flood
Jolabokaflod roughly translates to “Christmas book flood”. It is said to have come into existence during World War II when foreign imports were restricted, but paper was cheap.
While digging and doing some research about Iceland, I found out this interesting information:
- The small Nordic island, with a population of only 329,000 people, is extraordinarily literary. They love to read and write.
- Iceland has more writers, more books published and more books read, per head, than anywhere else in the world.
- One in 10 Icelanders will publish a book.
How we can incorporate this tradition into our homes:
While we are a far way away from Iceland, and we cannot replicate their beautiful tradition in our home perfectly, we hope to pay homage to this in our home.
First, we are going to be teaching our kids about Iceland and where this tradition came from. We hope to learn new things about their culture together so we can have a better understanding of where this tradition came from.
Then on Christmas Eve, we will have our own version of Jolabokaflod in our home by giving the kids homemade hot chocolate, chocolate candies, and a few new books to read.
Setting the scene for a cozy Christmas Eve:
What I took pictures of down below is our actual setup for Christmas Eve. We won’t be wrapping the books, but will have them on the bed. We will have hot chocolate on a tray and some little chocolates for the family. Yes – sugar before bed is usually a bad idea but hey, it’s Christmas Eve and it’s actually worked out pretty well for us the last two years.
We will have the twinkle lights on, the garland plugged in, and the sconce lights down low. We’ll snuggle in and read our new books while we enjoy our treats, and settle into a night of discovering new books as a family.
As the kids get older, I’m sure they won’t want us to read aloud to them anymore. But I’m hoping we could still continue the tradition of gifting them with a new book and having us all still carry on the cozy Christmas Eve reading together, even if we’re not all reading the same book.
Would you use this Christmas Eve tradition in your home?
What about you? Does this inspire you to incorporate this tradition into your home? Or are you more excited by going out of the house or watching a Christmas movie? There is of course no right or wrong answer here – I love hearing how other families celebrate! This is a tradition we have come to love and really hold a special place for in our hearts, and I am glad I was able to share it with you today!
For book suggestions, here’s a list of books we love for our kids ages (this book list is for kids 3-7)