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Icelandic Christmas Eve tradition: exchanging books and eating chocolate

  • 2 min read

Christmas Eve is a time of conviviality and togetherness worldwide, but in Iceland they celebrate this evening in a very special way. Imagine: you are sitting comfortably by the fireplace, snowflakes are gently fluttering outside the window, and you are surrounded by family, good books and delicious chocolate. This is not a scene from a winter novel, but a real Icelandic tradition called 'Jólabókaflóðið'. Immerse yourself in this enchanting tradition that brings reading and fun together (again).

What is Jólabókaflóðið?

Jólabókaflóðið, literally translated as 'flood of Christmas books', is a heartwarming Icelandic tradition where people exchange books on Christmas Eve and spend the rest of the evening reading with chocolate . This tradition originated during World War II, when paper was one of the few imports that was not rationed in Iceland. Books therefore became the ultimate Christmas gift, and this tradition has been indispensable there ever since.

Jólabókaflóðið

A sea of ​​stories

In Iceland, book giving has become so popular that a special catalogue, the 'Bókatíðindi', is released listing all the new publications of the year. This catalog is an essential part of the Icelandic Christmas tradition and is sent to every household in the country. It is a time when everyone looks forward to discovering new stories and adventures.

Reading with chocolate

But what would a book be without something delicious on Christmas Eve? Of Jólabókaflóðið, reading a new book goes hand in hand with enjoying chocolate . It is a combination that ensures an unforgettable Christmas Eve. The sweetness enhances the experience of getting lost in a new story.

FYI: you can easily order chocolate from Chocolate Delivered , not just at Christmas ;-)

Chocolate delivered

Why you should consider this tradition...

Jólabókaflóðið is more than just a tradition; it's a celebration of literature, family, and the simple pleasure of a good book. In our fast-paced, digital world, this Icelandic custom offers a moment of peace and relaxation. It emphasizes the importance of quality time with loved ones and the pleasure of reading, an activity that often takes a back seat in our daily lives.

How do you celebrate Jólabókaflóðið?

Celebrating Jólabókaflóðið is very simple:

  1. Choose a book for the people you are celebrating Christmas Eve with and wrap it festively.
  2. Make sure you have enough chocolate to share.
  3. Create a cozy reading corner with blankets and pillows.
  4. Take the time to enjoy your new books together.

Join the tradition

What could be better than combining the magic of Christmas Eve with the joy of stories and chocolate? Let's also start this Icelandic tradition and put our own spin on it. Let's start a new tradition together that is all about peace, connection and of course, lots of reading pleasure! And above all, have a Merry Christmas.

On Vleugje Iceland you can read more about Iceland and Christmas.

Image: Unsplash
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