Day 2 of the 12 Tales of the Holiday Season…Sharon Ledwith

Day 2 of the 12 Tales of the Holiday Season…Sharon Ledwith

It’s December 14th, Day 2 of the 12 Days, and we’ve got children’s author Sharon Ledwith weighing in on Jolabokaflod…

What on Earth is Jolabokaflod…
by Sharon Ledwith
Blame the Icelanders for this one. Upon hearing about this holiday tradition, as well as being an author, I was excited to write this article. Jolabokaflod literally translates into ‘Christmas Book Flood’. Sign me up for that deluge! It’s the Icelandic tradition celebrated on Christmas Eve to give and receive new books as gifts. There’s also the gifting of chocolate in this celebration, and let’s face it—who doesn’t want to receive books and chocolates for Christmas? *Holds hand up high, waving frantically* So, how did this unique tradition begin? In truth, the true origin of Jolabokaflod is unknown, but there are a few theories floating around in cyber space.
Theory One: It’s believed that this tradition started in the 1930s with a book club called The Reykjavik Library Foundation. Since Icelanders must deal with long dark winters, the Foundation wanted to encourage their people to read more during this time. Hence, Jolabokaflod was established as an annual event to coincide with Christmas Eve, so people could exchange new books to make their winters more bearable.
Theory Two: Jolabokaflod a.k.a. Christmas Book Flood began as a way to promote literacy in Iceland. There was a study done from the 1800s that found only 50% of Icelanders could read. That’s a big chunk out of a relatively small population! So, again to encourage people to learn how to read, the tradition was initiated. Hey, what a better place to bundle up in a cozy blanket by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate or mulled wine, and read a book?
Theory Three: During World War 2, paper was one of the few items in Iceland not rationed. This allowed for the continued publishing of books and printing of newspapers. As a result, Icelanders habitually gave books as gifts for the holiday season.  
In addition to these theories, Iceland has a long history of being well-read. Apparently, this started in 1786, when their first library was established. Since there were no schools, the general population had very few opportunities for education. A library opened the door for Icelanders to become self-taught, and this love of learning has continued on. Today, there are numerous lending libraries, and it’s estimated that a whopping 97% of all Icelandic households have at least one book. Fun fact: Iceland is the first country in the world to be recognized for having achieved ‘full literacy’. Wow. Take it from someone who used to be a tutor at her local literacy chapter, that’s a huge accomplishment!
Today, Jolabokaflod is a beloved tradition in Iceland’s culture. On Christmas Eve, families gather together to exchange new books, and spend the evening reading them. Nothing is off the table when it comes to giving books as gifts, including novels (all genres), non-fiction, cookbooks, children’s books, graphic novels, and even text books. It truly is the perfect way to celebrate the holiday season and connect with loved ones. If you’re looking to bridge this Icelandic tradition in a small way, then why not create a Jolabokaflod gift basket for an avid reader you know? All you have to do is select various books catering to the recipient’s interests, then add some cozy items such as a comfy blanket, chocolate, candles, mugs, and hot chocolate mix. Trust me, it’s the perfect holiday gift for your book-loving buddy.
So, if you’re still searching for a special way to spend the holiday season, why not give this Jolabokaflod tradition a crack or create a gift basket for the reader in your life? Even if you don’t live in Iceland, the winters in the northern hemisphere can get awfully chilly and brutal. And if you happen to live in the southern hemisphere, there’s definitely a beach book with your name on it. Wink. Wherever you live, have a happy and safe holiday season, readers! Cheers!

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the award-winning teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, reading, researching, or revising, she enjoys anything arcane, ancient mysteries, and single malt scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her spoiled hubby, and two shiny red e-bikes.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN, INSTAGRAM, and GOODREADS.

BONUS: Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE

Here’s a glimpse of the premises of both my young adult series:
The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventures…
Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers—legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial—five classmates are sent into the past to restore balance, and bring order back into the world, one mission at a time.
Children are the keys to our future. And now, children are the only hope for our past.
Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mysteries…
Imagine a teenager possessing a psychic ability and struggling to cope with its freakish power. There’s no hope for a normal life, and no one who understands. Now, imagine being uprooted and forced to live in a small tourist town where nothing much ever happens. It’s bores-ville from the get-go. Until mysterious things start to happen.
Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expect the unexpected.
The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventure Series:
The Last Timekeepers and the Noble Slave, Book #3
The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book #2 Buy Links:
The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Book #1 Buy Links:
Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links:
Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:
Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links:
Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links:

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