I am tagging on to Delilah’s “St. Nick” post. If you haven’t read it, you can find it here. https://www.delilahdevlin.com/blog/2021/12/05/st-nicks-night/. She wrote on her family’s Christmas traditions. Let me tell you about mine.
I found it in the midst of utter chaos. I was chasing down the perfect gifts for loved ones, planning a party, and juggling visiting family with different schedules, dietary needs, and pets. Facebook was my escape from reality. It was my coping mechanism—don’t judge. There was a picture depicting Jolabokaflod. I looked at that photo of a blazing fire with an inviting chair under the snow-covered windows. A hot beverage next to a pile of books lay beside it. I was immediately transported to Iceland. The house was quiet; the fire crackled; all my friends were curled up with books. I wanted that. Okay, I lived on the gulf coast, so snow and a roaring fire were not realistic, but I could give books on Christmas Eve. Setting up little reading nooks and an array of warm beverages were possibilities as well. I was now on a mission to adopt Jolabokaflod. It helped me rediscover my love of the holidays. Gone were the worries of making everything perfect and attending every party. What fun I had shopping for the perfect stories for my house full of guests.
Jolabokaflod is the Icelandic tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve then going off to read them with a non-alcoholic hot drink. It started after World War II, when paper was not rationed, and booksellers were trying to hawk their wares. They published a list of books and mailed it to everyone in November encouraging the giving of books for Christmas.
At my house, the big night arrived—Christmas Eve. The weather was warm. I kicked on the air to frigid, so people could snuggle up with cozy blankets. I had chosen to keep my guests in the dark about the evening’s event, so their faces were filled with anticipation as I handed out the beautifully wrapped gifts. I even learned how to make fancy bows, which is a huge feat since I am the least crafty person on Earth. Thank you, YouTube. My drinks trolley overflowed with cider, teas, coffee, and hot chocolate. I explained the tradition. Then everyone took turns revealing their books. There were oohs and ahhs and a few puzzled hmms. Friends selected beverages and dispersed to find the perfect reading spots. It was amazing. We were alone but together, kind of like a silent book club. After a couple of hours, we gathered back for a late supper of roasted lamb and flatkaka to keep with the Icelandic theme. The conversation flowed and ranged. Huge success. It was all that I had hoped for and more. Jolabokaflod is now my annual Christmas Eve event. The participants and books change, but the feeling of discovery and friendship thrive from year to year. Give it a try.
If you are looking for a book gift, I highly recommend Passionate Ink’s Falling Hard anthology (which is currently FREE in KU!). It contains seven steamy stories to warm your cold December nights. Michal Scott writes of Eve trying to escape an unwanted marriage in 1898 in Who Can Find a Virtuous Woman. Ryley Banks’ hot ginger TJ comes face to face with his teenage crush, Harley. Who doesn’t love a hot ginger? Find out what happens in Hard Cider Crush. Calia Wilde’s Burned Bones doesn’t disappoint with demons, dragons, and scorching sex. Learning that there is life after tragedy is the story of Roger Callahan. Ryan T. Osborn’s Claiming Papa is a daddy story that stays with the reader. Jordyn Kross’ Open Enrollment has you rooting for Dr. Chandra Russell from the first paragraph. What a steamy alien love story that has you hoping for a sequel. “When it comes to love and death, time is just another four-letter word.” Deni Dawson has a way with words. In her Between Love and Death, you find yourself thinking about houses and ghosts in a new way. A Facebook (can you tell it’s my story?) reconnect of first love leads to more than chaste kissing in The Homecoming.
All proceeds for Falling Hard go to Proliteracy.org!!
Want a sexy variation on Jolabokaflod? Pick up an erotic novel from your favorite author, pour your favorite beverage for a special person(s) of your choice, and take turns reading passages out loud. You don’t even have to wait until Christmas Eve!
Do you have a book tradition that you would like to share? I am always looking for new ways to celebrate with books or just celebrate!
Thank you, Delilah, for letting me share my favorite holiday tradition with your readers. Happy Holidays and Reading.
To find out more about Candice LaBria, visit her website at www.CandiceLaBria.com or her socials at Bria_writes on Instagram and Twitter and Candice LaBria on Facebook.