Iceland’s Christmas Book Giving Tradition

Iceland has a charming literary Christmas tradition called Jólabókaflóð (pronounced yo-luh-BOK-uh-flot; the o's have the long Ō sound), which in English literally means "Yule Book Flood." This exciting season begins each year in mid-November, when the Icelandic book industry distributes their catalog, the Bókatíðindi (literally "book news"). A free copy of this catalog is sent to every home in Iceland and is also available online, opens a new window. The fun begins when the Bókatíðindi becomes available and the Icelanders get the opportunity to look through it to decide which books they will give to friends and family for Christmas.

Gleðileg jól (Happy Christmas)!

Want to learn more? Here are some websites to visit to read more about Icelanders' love of reading and writing:

The Founding Story of Jólabókaflóð | Jólabókaflóð.org, opens a new window

Literary Iceland Revels in Its Annual 'Christmas Book Flood' | npr.org, opens a new window

The Christmas Book Flood: A Beloved Icelandic Tradition | IcelandWritersRetreat.com, opens a new window

The Icelanders and their Big Love of Books by Alda Sigmundsdóttir | GuideToIceland.is, opens a new window

Iceland: Where One in 10 People Will Publish a Book | BBC.com, opens a new window

Icelandic Authors

In appreciation of Iceland's Christmastime tradition of giving books, as well as the year-round Icelandic tradition of writing books, check out one of these books written by an Icelander.










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