Reading and the holidays

Sharing a book and a book flood.

Reading and the holidays
Photo by Jessica Fadel on Unsplash


I think about people around the world who celebrate this time of year. A tradition I think is simply awesome is one from Iceland.

Jolabokaflod, which means Christmas Book Flood, is a book lover’s dream. The country sells the most books between September and December to prepare for their Christmas tradition. On Christmas Eve, our friends from Iceland give each other books and then spend Christmas Eve enjoying a cozy read.

Sounds like heaven.

Although we are not in Iceland, the sharp wind and blowing snow outside my window definitely looks like an "ice-land." I just want to stay in my home, warm under my blankets and in front of the fireplace with a good book and a hot cup of something.

Winter and the holiday season are amping up. I, on the other hand, am keeping a list and checking it twice to stay focused and make sure that all my jobs, errands, and outings are organized and accomplished with as little stress as possible. And, if all goes well, every Christmas task will be completed with time to spare.

Under my tree, I have a few books to give to the people in my life. Although they may not specifically spend Christmas Eve reading, hopefully, there’ll be a few days or nights on this snowy tundra where being at home and reading will be the best choice.

May you receive a good book and quietly gather in comfort and joy.


Books are a mainstay on our Christmas lists. Sometimes it's a request for a specific one or a gift card to the local bookstore.

However, many of these books never stayed with just one person. After it was read, someone else would pick it up, and the book would do double, triple, and even quadruple duty being passed around the household.

I started making a list of these books and who had read them first:

  • Six of Crows (me)
  • The Alchemist (my son)
  • Normal People (my daughter)
  • Divergence (my wife)

These would lead us to buy other books by the author, leading to more reading and exchanges.

But I knew there were more, so I asked my family to help. The list snowballed:

  • Percy Jackson series
  • Hunger Games series
  • John Green books
  • The Maze Runner
  • Cat's Eye
  • They All Die at the End
  • Bone
  • The False Prince
  • Hero’s Guide series

I'm confident we've forgotten many others.

But reading these books as a family also led us to go to the film adaptations together, which became their own unique activity.

I think this is the power of books in a household. They enter as gifts and then are shared. They grow and connect and build rituals between us, and offer insight into our loved one's interests, curiosities, and imaginations.

From our family to yours, have a good holiday season.

Thank you so much for being a part of our journey. Have a joyful December.