As Christmas draws nearer, many of us are starting to hunker down and prepare for a season of cold weather, low-key festivities and cozy wintertime rituals. If you’re wondering how to make this year extra special, we recommend taking inspiration from a couple of notoriously chilly Nordic countries – Iceland and Denmark.
Their respective traditions of jolabokaflod and hygge are guaranteed to make you feel extra toasty, snug and content after what has been a tough year for everyone.
Read on to find out why you should add them to your list of favorite family traditions!
What is Jolabokaflod?
Literally translated as ‘Christmas book flood’, Jolabokaflod is an Icelandic custom involving the gifting of books on Christmas Eve. Once all books have been exchanged, family members go on to spend the whole evening reading.
What is Hygge?
Hygge does not have a direct English translation. However, it can be summed up as an atmosphere of coziness and contentment best achieved through family gatherings, in-depth discussions, a roaring log fire, a hot drink or toasty liqueur, and plenty of delicious food.
So, how is Jolabokaflod connected to Hygge?
Jolabokaflod is one of many cozy Christmas traditions that could be described as Hygge. Here’s why:
1. You can enjoy it as a family
Hygge is all about bonding with your favorite people. What better way to do this than chatting about some fantastic literature?!
2. The content of your books may embrace coziness
Look around for cozy fantasy tales or light-hearted non-fiction books when preparing for Jolabokaflod. In so doing, you can ensure that recipients will feel warm, happy and contented on Christmas Eve.
3. You can easily send books by post to connect with old friends and family members
Social distancing has become an everyday part of our vocabulary thanks to the events of 2020. However, social distancing does not have to mean social isolation or loss of contact with the ones you love. By sending someone a book, you can embrace the Hygge principle of togetherness and demonstrate that you care about them.
4. Hot beverages are easy to enjoy with a good book
With a book in one hand and a cup of hot cocoa in the other, you can immerse yourself in warmth and comfort!
5. Reading requires minimal physical effort
Hygge is all about relaxing. By reading a great book, you don’t have to expend an ounce of extra energy.
6. You can enjoy a good book with atmospheric lighting
An important aspect of Hygge is achieving atmospheric interior design. Try to get your lighting right so that you can clearly read the pages of your book without feeling overwhelmed by bright bulbs.
7. There’s no cozier sound than rustling pages
The sound of turning pages is super atmospheric and epitomizes the wonder of Hygge.
8. Discussing literature is a great way to enjoy the company of your family
Even if you’re not a voracious reader, discussing books in a thoughtful and intelligent manner is one of the most effective ways of bonding at a deep level.
9. Full bookshelves are amazingly comforting
Once you have finished reading, you can carefully fill your bookshelves full of new titles and enjoy their comforting presence for months and years to come.
10. Everyone loves the smell of new books
Inhaling the smell of a fresh new book is an excellent way to calm a racing mind and prepare for an evening of intellectual stimulation and physical respite.
11. Reading can help you fall asleep
If you’re still a big kid who struggles to fall asleep on Christmas Eve, reading a book will improve your chances of nodding off quickly. In fact, it may inspire you to make reading a part of your bedtime routine!