How to Make Iceland’s “Christmas Book Flood” Part of Your Holiday Tradition

Jolabokaflod Yule Christmas Book Flood Christmas tradition Iceland reading books gifts Christmas Eve

Imagine: It’s Christmas Eve, and you’ve got that jittery feeling of wanting to fast-forward to Christmas morning, yet you’re too restless to fall asleep. Then—what’s this?—a family member hands you a slender, rectangular wrapped parcel. It can’t be anything but a book, but why are you receiving it the night before Christmas?

You unwrap it to discover which book a loved one has chosen specifically for you—because it was a favorite they wanted to pass along, or simply because it made them think of you—and then comes the best part of your night: You curl up in bed with some chocolate and/or a holiday drink and spend the rest of the night reading until you doze off. Congratulations, you’ve just experienced Jólabókaflóð!

The coziest of holiday traditions and a great cure for the aforementioned “Christmas insomnia,” Iceland’s “Yule book flood” has caught on outside of its country of ...