The holiday season is already a great time for book lovers. Not only are we flooded with reading suggestions from end-of-year best books lists, but the slower pace of work around the holidays offers the perfect excuse to curl up by the fire and catch up on our massive pile of unread books.
But if you were a bibliophile and lived in Iceland, you would probably love this time of year even more.
As Shane Parrish, author of the consistently fascinating Farnam Street blog, recently noted in his newsletter, the little Scandinavian island nation has a Christmas tradition that no committed reader will be able to resist. It's called Jolabokaflod, (pronounced yo-la-boka-flot). That translates to "Yule Book Flood," and, as Parrish explains, it's exactly as awesome as it sounds.
"On Christmas Eve, friends and families exchange books -- then spend the evening together curled up reading their new treasure," he writes. "Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I think you'd agree that sounds pretty great."
He's totally right. Let's count the ways: 1. Books are always great! But also 2. Reused books that give a second life to the already read titles you have hanging around are even better. Plus 3. If you're going to have a (possibly awkward) night with relatives, reading is clearly a better way to spend it than trying to avoid fighting about politics or watching that favorite holiday film for the 4,000th time. Finally 4. Reading has been shown to not only make you smarter but also make you nicer and more empathetic, too.
What a great way to get into the holiday spirit of giving and joy.
If you're keen on the idea of starting a Jolabokaflod tradition with your family this year, but are short of tomes to give away, don't worry. Both Parrish and Inc.com have lots of suggestions for gift-worthy books.
Do you have any little known holiday traditions in your home or culture you think more people should enjoy?