Our Family’s Holiday Tradition : Christmas Eve Books


Last year, I read about Jolabokaflod, or the Yule Book Flood; a tradition that takes place in Iceland. I was so excited to start this tradition in my own family, especially after watching Frozen’s Holiday Special ten-thousand times and feeling like we needed our “own” tradition. Something we could all look forward to each year and make our own. This particular tradition is special to us because we are all avid readers and any excuse to meander through a used book store is a winner in our eyes!

Here’s how it works for us

My husband was the book-buyer last year, so he chose titles for everyone except himself; I bought his. We kept them wrapped until Christmas Eve. That evening, when it was almost time for bed, each person in the family got to open a book, a pair of fuzzy socks and a piece of good candy. After opening the gifts, we all went to our respective beds, munched on our candy and read until we fell asleep.


This tradition has the obvious benefits of all that comes with reading, but also it gets everyone into bed at a decent hour, the night before Christmas day. A lagniappe benefit is that we are inspired to wrap gifts ahead of time and be prepared so that we’re not wrapping gifts until 1am and waking up exhausted with four excited children. Lastly, the kids get to see us excited about a new book and we’re able to model good reading habits.


Last year, I got a wonderful used book by Anne Rice, my husband received the new Stephen King novel, the kids got new and used age-appropriate picture or chapter books and even our visiting parents were able to be included. Our older children love the Warriors cat books and the littles are particularly fond of Louisiana author Rebecca Ventre. This is a great opportunity to share your favorite childhood books with your kids, too!

We are so grateful for this new tradition and to have the opportunity share it with you all. We hope you’re able find your own spin and give Jolabokaflod a try!


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