Christmas time is fast approaching and I’ve always been a real sucker for quirky family traditions. It doesn’t feel like Christmas until I’ve watched Arthur Christmas, binge watched Stephen Fry’s series’ of QI and stuffed my face with mince pies and Ferrero Rochers. Lush bath bombs and new pyjamas are always called for on Christmas Eve and stockings must be opened in bed in the morning.
Now that I live away from my childhood home, have to work over the holidays and can only visit my family, my Christmas traditions are having to morph and change with my new lifestyle. It’s because of this that I’m always looking for new traditions to adopt that feel more like mine than my family’s, ones that I can add to the ones I’ve had since childhood. It was in my search that I came across the Icelandic tradition known as the jolabokafloo.
I seem to have found that basically the tradition is that they give each other books as presents on Christmas Eve and will spend the rest of the evening reading and eating chocolate. How great is that? Bookstores will host events and publishing houses will release hundreds of new titles for the occasion and it is said there begins a sort of city-wide literary festival.
According to my research, the tradition comes from WW11. Paper was one of the few things that wasn’t rationed and so books became popular while other gifts were in short supply.
As a complete bookworm and cosy chocolate enthuiast, this seems like the perfect tradition to begin practicing for myself. I love giving and receiving books and reading has long been part of my Christmas time routine anyway. I love the idea of getting all cosy and hygge and curling up with a good book under the twinkling Christmas tree lights. I could grab some hot chocolate and a cookie and be content for the evening. After a day at work it would be an especially relaxing way to spend the night before the big day.
Having recently stumbled across the tradition, it just seemed all too lovely to ignore and I just had to look into it and talk about it here. Quirks and traditions seem to be so important to people and so vital to the celebrations this time of year.
What are your personal Christmas traditions?