During the holidays, Iceland has a much-beloved tradition called the Yule Book Flood, or Jólabókaflóðið for those of you that speak Icelandic. Instead of gizmos, gadgets, and expensive toys, the most beloved gifts are books.
The annual Christmas tradition begins when Icelandic publishers send a list of every book that will be published that year to all households from the Iceland Publishers Association’s catalog. From there, people pick out what books to order for their friends and family to enjoy over the holidays. These books are gifted in much anticipation.
In good business practice, the most anticipated hardcovers of the year are published in the last third of it sets them up to be the perfect gifts for everyone on your list.
Mental Floss had this really neat story of a cool holiday tradition that celebrates literature in the best way. This is the time of year where the publishing world in Iceland does most of their business and many books can be found just about everywhere for holiday shopping needs.
The Jólabókaflóðið dates back to war times and some post-Word War II policies. It wasn't until 1944 when Iceland became its own independent republic and with it came some strict import rules. However, paper was incredibly easy to obtain forming Iceland into a nation that cherishes the written word. In fact, one in ten Icelanders has published their own book.
When books are exchanged on either Christmas Eve (today!) or Christmas Day (depending on family tradition), people curl up getting lost in the words of their book and relax. It's also common for people to hop back in bed and read while eating chocolate. This is a holiday tradition that is perfect for any book lover.
In addition to having a relaxing holiday reading great books, these pieces of literature inevitably become topics of conversation for ensuing holiday parties and for the return to work. What do you think of the Christmas Book Flood? Should the US adopt this tradition too? Will you do it with your family or do you typically gift books anyway?
Let us know what you think in the comments!