A Flood of Books That Is.
Doesn’t that sound dreamy? I think so!
The Jólabókaflóđ (Yo la bok a flod) is a Christmas tradition of the highly literate people of Iceland. On Christmas Eve, Icelanders give their favorite gifts (books) and pretty much know they will be receiving several new books of their own in their gift exchange with family and friends. This tradition apparently started sometime around the end of WWII but to me when it started doesn’t matter, it’s started and that is just super cool to me.
I used the term highly literate to describe Icelandic folks and to explain why I would say that the UNESCO City of Literature title given to Reykjavik plus the fact from a 2013 study-done by Bilfröst University claims that Icelanders read 8 or more books a year. This is a pretty cool fact if you take in the idea from Randell Bell who has correlated higher income and overall happiness to those who read 7 or more book a year.
The idea of getting several new books to read is fantastic enough but I really like the idea of everyone grabbing a nice cup of something to drink like hot cocoa and heading to a warm spot to hang out and start one of the new books from the flood.
As a teacher I think this would be a great idea for a gift exchange in the classroom with students, with colleagues or both. I even like the idea of a white elephant exchange with books. That way if you end up with a book you have already read then you still have a chance of find something new to read.
Here in Florida we will be lucky if we need something warm and cozy to drink as we spend time with our new book friends. I guess iced peppermint iced cocoa would be pretty nice. Who knows, I might even be able to put a fire in the fireplace this year and if it’s not actually cold enough well, we have been known to do so with the house all opened up just for effect, so now I’m getting excited!
Our family tradition has always been an evening of fondues; homemade cheese fondue followed by chocolate then prep for the Christmas Day which is all about gift wrapping and prepping for the standing rib roast dinner to feed the extended family of nearly 20, but I am going to add Jólabókaflóđ to our tradition this year. I need to start thinking about which books to pick up for my two kids and my mom, should be fun! Heck, maybe I can inspire my furry friends to read with us.
Time for shopping!