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Hit The Books This Christmas The “Jolabokaflod” Way!

Have you ever heard of jolabokaflod? Unless you were born and raised in Iceland (or have a knack for learning about all the cosiest Christmas traditions out there), you probably haven’t. This Icelandic word literally translates as “Christmas Book Flood”…and there’s no better way of describing this joyous occasion. Keep reading to learn more about the origins behind this tradition of cosiness and contentment!

One For the Books!

After World War II, most countries experienced a period of self-isolation as many nations struggled to rebuild their economies, drastically reducing the number of imports. Luckily, restrictions on paper goods weren’t as heavy. Since Iceland’s economy hadn’t suffered as much, people were left with an above-average spending capacity, but a less diverse giftware catalogue of items to spend it on. The result? A Christmas Eve reading tradition!

Iceland’s Christmas-goers resorted to giving books as gifts, and would then spend the night before Christmas curled up in front of a crackling fire reading the books they received…with a cup of hot chocolate on the side. The best part is that, ever since then, this tradition has survived and is still followed every year, now accompanied with an official Christmas Book Flood catalogue!

If the history buff lurking inside you got a kick out of learning that, then you’ll definitely want to take a look at our History section, which is chock-full of enlightening entries and exciting adventures, including two of our top picks. If you’re a voracious reader, then there’s a good chance you’re an aspiring writer. Take some tips from history’s greatest wordsmiths by leafing through “Writers: Their Lives and Works”, an invaluable source of inspiration lying in the biographies of various novelists, playwrights, and poets.

And what better writing advice to take than from J.K. Rowling’s own Cinderella story? Continue the Harry Potter saga with the third instalment in this legendary series, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”. It’s a fun read for all ages (and a first edition, no less)!

Bring Up the Past!

And speaking about the past…while you should always create some Christmas memories for your own children, you shouldn’t forget about the child in you! Whether you choose to gift a book to a child, or take a stroll down memory lane by reliving your own childhood, you can’t go wrong with going off the beaten path into our Children’s Books section for a bit of nostalgia. Some of our items are incredibly valuable first editions that would enrich any vintage collection.

For instance, this copy of Enid Blyton’s “The Island of Adventure”, the first in the Adventure Series, is incredibly rare, containing an inscription by the author herself. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a signed book from this worldwide bestseller, creator of such beloved series as the Famous Five, Secret Seven, and Noddy. While you’re at it, don’t miss out on the opportunity to own your very own first edition copy of Michael Bond’s “Paddington Abroad”, where our friendly spectacled bear comes to recapture our hearts in his old red hat and blue duffel coat. You might want to add some marmalade sandwiches to the menu this jolabokaflod night!

(If you’re busy preparing for a lavish Christmas dinner, you might also want to bring back a little bit of your childhood with these darling Nancy & Betty Studio Luxury Crackers, each decorated with the original Paddington Bear artwork of Peggy Fortnum!)

It’s Not All About Reading!

Christmas is as much about appealing aesthetics as it is about feelings of good will and togetherness. So who’s to say that you shouldn’t also get to indulge in some homey library decor while perusing your bookshelves? We were particularly taken with this hand-painted wooden book rest, waiting to cradle a very special book. This piece consists of meadow flowers – daisies, buttercups, bluebells, and cow parsley – lovingly painted on a washed green background by artist Adeline Ford.

If you want to add a touch of mystery to your library, then we’re also pleased to share this DIY light-up bookend/insert, part of a recently overwhelmingly popular craze of atmospheric library additions. Puzzle lovers will not only enjoy piecing together this miniature diorama of an old-fashioned library nook, but also cherish the warm scene on those cold winter nights.

A Helping Hand

What do such classics as A Christmas Carol, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Little Women have in common? Yes, they’re all about Christmas, but more than that, they strike at the heart of what this holiday represents: the spirit of charity, kindness, redemption, and hope. At We Are Not A Shop, we try to do the most we can for the causes that matter to us. Ultimately, Christmas isn’t all about gift-giving; it’s about giving in general.

By buying such classic tales as Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist” and “Nicholas Nickleby”, each relating their own groundbreaking stories of standing up against injustice and protecting those things you hold dear, you’ll not only be donating to a worthy cause (Every little counts!), but you’ll also be purchasing masterful tales of adventure and suspense. Your Christmas Eve is sure to be a memorable one whilst in the company of great characters, including the Artful Dodger, the terrifying Bill Sikes, master thief Fagin, and many, many others.

(On a side note, we were particularly touched with the ink inscription in this copy of “Nicholas Nickleby”. One lucky individual received it as a gift on their 12th birthday!)

Do you think you’ll be incorporating more reading time into your holidays this year? If you’re stumped on gift ideas, perhaps you’d like to give someone the priceless treasure of the written word. Browse through our archive to get some ideas. It’s time to celebrate this Christmas in true Icelandic jolabokaflod style!

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