Reading, MA — What do World War II, your local independent bookstore, Iceland, and the upcoming holiday season have in common? The answer is the very cool (but perhaps challenging to pronounce) celebration of Jolabokaflod!
Jolabokaflod (which translates into “The Yule Book Flood”) originated during World War II, when paper was one of the few commodities not rationed in Iceland. When the holiday season arrived, Icelanders gave their loved ones books and a mug of hot cocoa. They then gathered around the fireplace and enjoyed reading together. The custom persists to this day.
In recent years, independent bookstores across the United States have adopted this beautiful holiday tradition. Whitelam Books owner Liz Whitelam explains, “We’re happy to embrace a celebration from another culture that encourages reading, coziness, and time with family. The holiday season can be hectic. Jolabokaflod is a great reminder to focus on peace, quiet time at home, and the joy you only get from reading a great book.”
Participating in Jolabokaflod is easy – just give a loved one a book this holiday season! For folks who want to go a little bit further, you can set aside an evening to build a fire, light some candles, make some hot cocoa, and read together as a family.
Whitelam Books is offering Jolabokaflod gift boxes for sale in November and December. These beautiful gift boxes contain a scented candle, fuzzy slipper socks, luxurious drinking cocoa, a rustic wooden bookmark, and a book of your choice. If you don’t know what book to choose, the booksellers at Whitelam Books are ready to make suggestions for each and every reader on your list. Jolabokaflod boxes are available for $30 plus the cost of the book you choose.
Stop by Reading’s only independent bookstore this holiday season and learn more about Jolabokaflod – including how to pronounce it!
Whitelam Books is located at 610 Main Street in Reading.