In Iceland, There Is a Beautiful Tradition to Gift Books to Each Other on Christmas Eve

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There is an amazing Icelandic tradition to gift books on Christmas Eve.

There seems to be nothing more festive than reading a book in front of a warm fire with a blanket and a cup of hot cocoa, but Icelanders have taken this cozy image to a new level.

In Iceland, there is a lovely tradition to gift books to each other on Christmas Eve and then spend the night before Christmas reading. The tradition is so intrinsic within the Icelandic culture that the majority of books in Iceland are sold between September and December in The Christmas Book Flood or the Jolabokaflod.

The Icelandic love of books is so vastly celebrated at this time of year that new publications of popular publications bring out new releases specifically for the Christmas time rush.

It is not just the colder months that bring out the readers of Iceland.

Nordic people are among the most literarily skilled people in the world, with an average of 1 in 10 Icelanders publishing some form of book or publication! The range of publications that come from the culture is among some of the best and most revered books around the world. With authors such as Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Arnaldur Indriðason, Icelandic novels are among the best in the world.

New developments in books and novels seem to be rejected in Iceland.

E-books just don’t cut it on the small Nordic island, with paper copies of books being highly valued in comparison to their online competitors. No need to say that this is a completely different approach to American and European cultures. Giving someone an e-book is just not the done thing, there is so much importance and tradition based on giving books that a physical copy is the only gift that you should be given.

The book industry in Iceland is booming.

The patterns of buying consist of many people buying a few books rather than few people buying lots of books, keeping the turnover of books constant and steady, with huge spikes towards the end of the year in preparation for Christmas Eve.

Literary gifts are a charming tradition of the Icelandic culture, and literary works and publications get some serious attention around the country. They are perfect for a pre-Christmas present and give the festive season an air of tradition, both literary and festivities.

I don’t know a single person that doesn’t love a good book and matching it with my intense Christmas spirit is bound to be a match made in heaven.

So why not follow the example of Iceland and, instead of buying useless stuff, gift books to your friends and family this Christmas! 🙂


  1. Goodreads
  2. Tree Hugger

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By |2018-09-21T20:10:39+00:00December 21st, 2016|Categories: Food for thought, Weird & Unbelievable Facts|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

About the Author:

Francesca is a freelance writer currently studying a degree in Law and Philosophy. She has written for several blogs in a range of subjects across Lifestyle, Relationships and Health and Fitness. Her main pursuits are learning new innovative ways of keeping fit and healthy, as well as broadening her knowledge in as many areas as possible in order to achieve success.

One Comment

  1. Jonathan Mortola December 21, 2016 at 10:24 pm - Reply

    It’s seasons like this that make me want to be an Icelander. What a wonderful tradition!

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