The Christmas Eve Book Flood.
‘What Christmas Eve Book Flood?’ I hear you say, ‘what on earth is that?’. Here in the UK, Christmas Day tends to be more of a big deal than Christmas Eve. Some families may choose to put their tree up this night, go to a carol service, watch a Christmas film – really it depends on the family. So whilst pondering this, I came across the Icelandic tradition of ‘Jolabokaflod’, or ‘Christmas Book Flood’.
To all you book lovers, writers and publishers, you will love this. In Iceland, they have this beautiful tradition of giving books to each other on Christmas Eve and spending the night reading together. What a beautiful way to spend Christmas Eve!
The tradition came about from World War II due to restrictions on imports into the Iceland at that time. Paper was cheap but the country was not big enough to support a year-round publishing industry thus resulting in book publishers flooding the market with new titles in the final weeks of the year.
Obviously, giving or exchanging books is not a tradition unique to Iceland but in the day and age of social media and electronics, the tradition of giving a gift of a physical book and sitting and spending time with the family reading on Christmas Eve is a wonderful tradition that sounds like bliss to fellow writers and bookworms.
What a special gift a book can be.