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Book lovers, bibliophiles, Christmas lovers and everyone who loves a good story are all invited to participate in the celebration of Christmas Book Day! 

History of Christmas Book Day

The tradition of giving books for Christmas has a delightful history and one story starts in Iceland in 1944, following the independence that Iceland had gained from Denmark. Called Jolabokaflod in the Icelandic language, the name literally translates to mean “Christmas Book Flood”.

At that time, resources were in short supply in Iceland due to World War II, but paper was an easy commodity to come by so books provided an ideal opportunity for gift-giving. And because Iceland already had a national affinity for reading, the idea of a special day dedicated to giving books as gifts during annual Christmas celebrations fits just perfectly into the culture.

Each year, since 1944, the book trade in Iceland has published the “Book Bulletin” which is a catalog filled with book titles sent to every household in the country. Sent during the Reykjavik Book Fair in mid-November, the bulletin arrives just in time for families to choose books to order as gifts for the holiday season.

The tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day may be decades old, but the celebration of Christmas Book Day is a more recent event that was started in 2021 by Jill Roman Lord. She is the award winning author of the children’s book, That Grand Christmas Day!, who founded the day with the hope of growing the love for books during the Christmas season. 

The idea behind Christmas Book Day is to purchase Christmas books, read Christmas books, and also give them away as gifts. The first day of December is an ideal time to snuggle up with those delightful Christmas and winter-themed story books, sharing with the family and enjoying the warm feelings of the season.

How to Celebrate Christmas Book Day

Everyone can involved with this literary event by celebrating Christmas Book Day in some of these ways:

Give a Christmas Book Gift

One excellent way to get excited about the winter holiday season might be to observe Christmas Book Day as a time to give books. Whether the books are purchased new from a local book shop just for this day or picked up at sustainable used bookstores throughout the year, children and adults alike can enjoy the soothing experience of flipping through a Christmas book in honor of this event.

Decorate for Christmas with Books

Take Christmas Book Day one step further by joining in with some fun DIY holiday decorations that can be made from used books. Gather up a collection of old books from yard sales or thrift stores, or maybe from a lower bookshelf where the books may not be worth a re-reading.

Head online to YouTube or other platforms to find some craft tutorials that show how to fashion origami or other types of paper crafts from old books. This might include Christmas ornaments for the tree, garland to hang from the rafters, or some creative stand-up trees, cone angels and more. The options for decorating with pages from old books is almost endless and is an ideal activity to celebrate Christmas Book Day!

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