Jolabokaflod started during World War II, when paper was one of the few things not rationed in Iceland. Because of this, Icelanders gave books as gifts while other commodities were in short supply, turning them into a country of bookaholics to this day.
Today, the tradition still stands: in late September, a free catalog of Iceland’s newest books called the Bokatidindi hits every home’s mailbox, and Icelanders hit the bookstores.
The English translation of Jolabokaflod is "the Christmas Book Flood." On Christmas Eve, you'll find most Icelanders snuggled in with a cup of hot chocolate or jolabland (a non-alcoholic holiday ale) all doing the same thing: reading a book.
Iceland is a nation of book lovers. A recent study from 2019 shows that on average they read 2.3 books per month.
That tradition lives on in Iceland and the word has gotten out! People all over the world are now encouraged to celebrate Jolabokaflod by gifting books on Christmas Eve and setting aside all day Christmas to drink hot cocoa and read.
Source: Read Watch Go