+
upworthy
Joy

Hey Iceland, mind if we borrow your Christmas tradition of Jólabókaflóð?

It's holiday heaven for introverts, basically.

Iceland, Christmas, books, reading
studioroman/Canva

The Icelandic tradition of gifting and reading books on Christmas Eve is an introvert's dream.

For families that celebrate Christmas, December can be a whirlwind of preparation, excitement, busyness and, frankly, stress. It's all in the name of good things—festivity, family gatherings, generosity—but phew, it can be a lot.

Perhaps that's one reason why the Icelandic tradition of Jólabókaflóð (approximately pronounced Yo-lah-boke-ah-flode) has grabbed people's attention. What if, instead of hustling and bustling, families spent the night before Christmas quietly reading?

Literally translating as "Christmas book flood," Jólabókaflóð is the tradition of not just gifting books, but actually reading them together on Christmas Eve. Imagine the whole family cozied up in front of the fire, hot cocoa in one hand and a book in the other, quietly enjoying some calm reading time together. Quite a contrast to the sensory overload that can often mark the holiday, and a decidedly introvert-friendly tradition.


"The culture of giving books as presents is very deeply rooted in how families perceive Christmas as a holiday," Kristjan B. Jonasson, president of the Iceland Publishers Association, told NPR in 2012. "Normally, we give the presents on the night of the 24th and people spend the night reading."

How did this Christmas book giving and reading tradition get started? According to jolabokaflod.org, it began during World War II after Iceland gained its independence from Denmark in 1944. Since paper was one of the few things not rationed during the war, Icelanders gifted one another books.

Every year since, a book catalog—the "Book Bulletin"—has been published by the Icelandic book trade and sent to every household in mid-November. People order books from the catalog to give as gifts for Christmas.

hot cocoa, book, christmas tree

Hot cocoa and books are a Christmas Eve tradition in Iceland.

Photo by Andreea Radu on Unsplash

The hot cocoa is part of the tradition, as well as a Christmas ale called jolabland, which is a uniquely Icelandic orangey-malty fizzy drink.

The Jólabókaflóð tradition has a decidedly hygge feel to it, which makes sense considering Iceland's long, cold winters and cultural connection with Denmark. (Hygge = the Danish word that essentially means a warm and cozy atmosphere and sense of well-being.) Even if we don't have Scandinavian roots ourselves, we can all appreciate creating a space of comfort and warmth in the darkest, coldest time of the year (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway).

And books are excellent gifts. They don't take up a lot of space, they can be enjoyed again and again and they can be regifted easily. A good book can teach us things, change our mindset and make us more empathetic. And all things considered, they're inexpensive—especially if you buy them secondhand.

But the reading books together part is where Jólabókaflóð really shines. So many holiday traditions are centered around the extroverts among us—the idea that introverts get to have their preferences not just tolerated, but honored, and on a major holiday no less, is just beautiful.

So get the family on board, gift a book, grab a cocoa and a good read, and spend Christmas Eve in cozy silence, reading with your loved ones. Sounds like the perfect way to spend a holiday.

True

Making new friends as an adult is challenging. While people crave meaningful IRL connections, it can be hard to know where to find them. But thanks to one Facebook Group, meeting your new best friends is easier than ever.

Founded in 2018, NYC Brunch Squad brings together hundreds of people who come as strangers and leave as friends through its in-person events.

“Witnessing the transformative impact our community has on the lives of our members is truly remarkable. We provide the essential support and connections needed to thrive amid the city's chaos,” shares Liza Rubin, the group’s founder.

Despite its name, the group doesn’t just do brunch. They also have book clubs, seasonal parties, and picnics, among other activities.

NYC Brunch Squad curates up to 10 monthly events tailored to the specific interests of its members. Liza handles all the details, taking into account different budgets and event sizes – all people have to do is show up.

“We have members who met at our events and became friends and went on to embark on international journeys to celebrate birthdays together. We have had members get married with bridesmaids by their sides who were women they first connected with at our events. We’ve had members decide to live together and become roommates,” Liza says.

Members also bond over their passion for giving back to their community. The group has hosted many impact-driven events, including a “Picnic with Purpose” to create self-care packages for homeless shelters and recently participated in the #SquadSpreadsJoy challenge. Each day, the 100 members participating receive random acts of kindness to complete. They can also share their stories on the group page to earn extra points. The member with the most points at the end wins a free seat at the group's Friendsgiving event.

Keep ReadingShow less
Democracy

This Map Reveals The True Value Of $100 In Each State

Your purchasing power can swing by 30% from state to state.

Image by Tax Foundation.

Map represents the value of 100 dollars.

As the cost of living in large cities continues to rise, more and more people are realizing that the value of a dollar in the United States is a very relative concept. For decades, cost of living indices have sought to address and benchmark the inconsistencies in what money will buy, but they are often so specific as to prevent a holistic picture or the ability to "browse" the data based on geographic location.

The Tax Foundation addressed many of these shortcomings using the most recent (2015) Bureau of Economic Analysis data to provide a familiar map of the United States overlaid with the relative value of what $100 is "worth" in each state. Granted, going state-by-state still introduces a fair amount of "smoothing" into the process — $100 will go farther in Los Angeles than in Fresno, for instance — but it does provide insight into where the value lies.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Woman bakes cheeky curse word pies for her grandma and it becomes a quirky holiday tradition

2023's pie is an homage to her favorite word to use while stuck in traffic.

Canva

You never know where a holiday tradition will come from.

Tried-and-true holiday traditions certainly have their merit, but there’s something quite special, magical even, about discovering personal rituals that commemorate one’s unique life. In my household, for instance, nothing quite rings in the Christmas spirit like sipping my partner’s delicious coquito and putting up a cardboard gingerbread house for my cats.

The beauty of creating customized holiday traditions is that they can be as festive, sentimental, or as silly as you want them to be. And you never know how one small moment can become the catalyst for a tradition that sparks joy year after year.

For Jess Lydon, that tradition is baking expletive-laden pies for Thanksgiving. (This is your profanity warning—the images below contain swear words.)

Keep ReadingShow less
Education

3,700-year-old Babylonian stone tablet gets translated, changes history

They were doing trigonometry 1500 years before the Greeks.

via UNSW

Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.

Keep ReadingShow less

Peter Bence's piano cover of "Africa" by Toto

Peter Bence’s performance of “Africa” by Toto has over 17 million views on YouTube because of his creative reimagining of the song and, well, just about everyone loves “Africa.”

Bence is a Hungarian composer and producer who has become a viral sensation for his Michael Jackson, Queen, Sia, and Beatles covers. He has over 1.1 million followers on YouTube and has toured the globe, playing in more than 40 countries across four continents.

His performance of “Africa'' is unique because it opens with him creating a rhythm track and looping it by strategically tapping the piano and rubbing its strings to create the sound of shakers and congo drums.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Family posts a very chill note to neighbors explaining why their dog is on the roof

“We appreciate your concern but please do not knock on our door.."

via Reddit

Meet Huckleberry the dog.

If you were taking a stroll through a quiet neighborhood and happened to catch a glance of this majestic sight, you might bat an eye. You might do a double take. If you were (somewhat understandably) concerned about this surprising roof-dog's welfare, you might even approach the homeowners to tell them, "Uh, I'm not sure if you know...but there's a...dog...on your ROOF."

Well, the family inside is aware that there's often a dog on their roof. It's their pet Golden, Huckleberry, and he just sorta likes it up there.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

12 hilariously relatable comics about life as a new mom.

Embarrassing stains on your T-shirt, sniffing someone's bum to check if they have pooped, the first time having sex post-giving birth — as a new mom, your life turns upside-down.

All illustrations by Ingebritt ter Veld. Reprinted here with permission.

Some good not so good moments with babies.



Embarrassing stains on your T-shirt, sniffing someone's bum to check if they have pooped, the first time having sex post-giving birth — as a new mom, your life turns upside-down.

Illustrator Ingebritt ter Veld and Corinne de Vries, who works for Hippe-Birth Cards, a webshop for birth announcements, had babies shortly after one another.

Keep ReadingShow less