As it is a week before Christmas, I thought it would be the perfect time to talk about the Icelandic tradition of Jolabokaflod. On Christmas Eve, the people of Iceland exchange books with each other and spend the evening reading. (Show of hands, how many of you are now looking up airfare to Iceland? Ok, good, it’s not just me 🙂 ) In preparation, there is a flurry of books published and purchased in the months leading up to Christmas. This market for Christmas stories is known as Jolabokaflod, which reflects the highly literary quality of the Icelandic people. I, for one, can’t wait to start this tradition with my own family! Reading and Christmas all rolled up into one perfect pack, what’s not to love?
“Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;”
Clement C. Moore’s immortal words have defined Christmas for generations. One of my favorite Christmas memories is my father reading that story to me and my siblings year after year. Though it is not Christmas Eve, I thought this would be an excellent book to discuss today because tomorrow marks the feast of Saint Nicholas of Myra, the fourth century Bishop from whom the legend of Santa Claus originates. As a girl, I would set my shoes out every December 5th and eagerly anticipate what I would find in them the next morning. It has always been one of my favorite celebrations of the Christmas season. I hope you and your families treasure this story like I do and have a wonderful visit from Saint Nicholas!