I am Lydia Tyndall and I’ve got another Miscellany article for you.
Imagine Iceland at Christmas time during World War II. People want to purchase gifts for their friends and family, but many common gifts have been rationed. One of the few things available is paper. So they decide that books would make a good gift. This is how Jolabokaflod, the Icelandic tradition of exchanging books on Christmas Eve, began.
Perhaps the reason why Jolabokaflod took hold is because of another Icelandic tradition called Kvoldvaka. Winter evenings in Iceland were cold and dark, so people had to stay inside. To pass the time they would gather together and tell stories. This has rooted a deep love for stories in the Icelandic culture.
My family has enjoyed honoring the tradition of Jolabokaflod even though we are not from Iceland. I love choosing books to give to my parents and brother.