You are lacking in Christmas spirit Jolabokaflod is the answer! Jolabokaflod is a great option!

  • Jolabokaflod, an Icelandic tradition that means “Christmas book flood”, roughly translated from the Icelandic language
  • New book wrapped up by people to be opened on Christmas Eve. 
  • This date backs to the Second World War, when paper wasn’t rationed.
  • Each year the Icelandic book trade sends every household a catalog 

Due to rising Covid-19 counts and worries about New Year’s restrictions, it may prove difficult for many Brits this holiday season. 

Jolabokaflod, a Nordic tradition that is warm and cozy, could help you feel holiday spirit on Christmas Eve. 

British Library highlighted the word earlier in the month via Instagram. The organization declared that it was a “weird, wonderful” tradition that originated from Iceland. 

The concept, which translates roughly into English as ‘the Christmas book flood’, sees people gift new books to their loved ones on Christmas Eve and spend the evening reading. 

Many social media users were enthralled by the concept, some even suggesting that it could be a Nordic cultural icon which would surpass the art form of Hygge (the art of comfortable living). 

Jolabokaflod translates roughly into English as 'the Christmas book flood' and sees people gift new books to their loved ones on Christmas Eve and spend the evening reading. Stock image

Jolabokaflod translates roughly into English as ‘the Christmas book flood’ and sees people gift new books to their loved ones on Christmas Eve and spend the evening reading. Stock photo

One commented: ‘I’ve introduced this tradition to my family for the last five Christmases. 

‘It’s genuinely wonderful and I think I look forward to it more than christmas itself.’

Another writer wrote: “A stunning tradition. Take a sip and read. 

Sometimes books can be wrapped up with a sweet treat and often are read immediately while drinking hot chocolate or alcohol-free Christmas ale called jólabland.

The British Library shared the definition of the word on it's Instagram page earlier this month, sending social media users wild

The British Library posted the definition on its Instagram page this month. This sent social media users crazy 

The ritual dates back to the Second World War, after Iceland formally became an independent republic on June 17, 1944, because paper was one of the few commodities not rationed.   

Every year since 1944, the Icelandic book trade has published a catalogue of the year’s best books, the Bókatíðindi, which is sent to every household in the country in mid-November.  

Iceland are a nation of bookworms, and a study conducted by Bifröst University in 2013 found that around half the country’s population read at least eight books a year.  

Recommended books in the Bókatíðindi are split into children and adult categories and include both Icelandic and translated fiction and non-fiction.    

Many Brits confessed they were wowed by the 'wonderful' tradition and said they hoped to adopt it in the future

Brits have admitted to being enthralled by this ‘wonderful tradition’ and stated that they would like to be able adopt it. 

The top recommended work of translated fiction globally went to 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World, a book about a sex worker in Istanbul by Turkish writer Elif Shafak. 

The list also included Swedish bestseller 1794: The City Between the Bridges by Niklas Natt och Dag and Eat the Buddha by American journalist and author Barbara Demick. 

Meanwhile, the top recommendations for Icelandic fiction this year included comedy book 107 reykjavík by Auður Jónsdóttir and Anna Hafþórsdóttir’s acclaimed novel To Count to a Million. 

Some may be reminded of the Danish term “hygge”, which is pronounced “hooga”

The Nordic word describes ‘a feeling of cosiness and content’, and ‘enjoying the good things in life with good people around you’.

It boomed in popularity in 2016 and was defined as the art of cosy living, the savouring of life’s simplest pleasures.

At the time, 132 titles relating to hygge are being sold by Amazon, with Meik Wiking’s The Little Book Of Hygge reaching No 14 in the bestsellers list – ahead of J. K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts screenplay.